Palak paneer step-by-step recipe with video and photos.
About this recipe
Palak paneer is a famous Punjabi dish in which paneer (Indian cottage cheese) is cooked in spinach and spices masala base. This dish is our family favourite too. Soft cottage cheese cubes cooked in silky, mildly spicy spinach gravy is a definite winner. It pairs very well with both rice dishes and roti/naan. It is also known as saag paneer.
There are many ways to make this popular dish and here is my take.
Palak: Palak means spinach in Hindi.
Paneer: Paneer is fresh Indian cottage cheese. You can use either store-bought paneer or make fresh paneer at home.
Onion and tomato: They are used to make the base gravy of the dish.
Ginger and garlic: I use lots of garlic in my recipe as it pairs very well with spinach.
Spices: The whole spices I use are bay leaves, black cardamom, cumin seeds, and cloves. The powdered spices I use are garam masala, amchur (dried mango powder), and chilli powder.
Ghee: I prefer to make this dish with ghee; however, you may replace it with the cooking oil of your choice.
Kasuri methi: Kasuri methi is dried fenugreek leaves. This is an optional ingredient but I highly recommend not to skip it.
To make this dish, I blanched the spinach and blend it. I then made the base of this dish using spices (both whole and powdered), onion, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes (I add loads of garlic here and love the flavour it brings when combined with spinach). I then simmered spinach puree in it and finally added shallow-fried paneer.
Palak paneer can be served with plain Basmati rice or can be paired with pulao. Here are some dishes you can pair palak paneer with for a complete meal.
Tips for making best palak paneer
Once you shallow-fry the paneer, soak them in warm water. This will help keep them soft.
Transfer the blanched palak to iced water immediately. This will help in retaining the colour of the spinach.
Use lots of garlic to make palak paneer. Garlic and spinach work very well and makes this dish unique and very flavourful.
Do not skip on tomatoes. They not only add flavour to the dish, but they are also beneficial too. Spinach is rich in iron and combining them with foods rich in vitamin C (like tomatoes) helps absorb the iron.
Do not skip Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) even though it is an optional ingredient. It pairs very well with paneer and adds a nutty flavour to the dish.
Click here for more Punjabi recipes.
For a non-vegetarian version of this dish, try palak chicken.
Click here for more recipes using green leafy vegetables.
This dish is:
- healthy and nutritious
- a great way to include greens in your diet
- freezer friendly
- delicious with both rice and roti/naan
Step by step instructions
1. Wash and clean the spinach
2. Blanch spinach in boiling water
3. Puree the spinach
4. Heat 1 teaspoon ghee and lightly fry the paneer cubes. Set aside
5. Add the remaining ghee and add cumin seeds, bay leaves, black cardamom, and cloves
6. Add onions and fry till it is light golden
7. Add ginger, garlic, and green chilli
7. Add amchur, chilli powder, salt, and kasuri methi. Saute for a minute
8. Add tomatoes and cook for few minutes until they become soft
9. Add garam masala. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the spices and tomatoes are cooked
10. Add spinach puree and simmer
11. Mix in the paneer cubes. Simmer for 3-4 minutes
- 2 bunch spinach
- 250 grams paneer cubed
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 large tomato finely chopped
- ½ inch ginger grated
- 5-6 cloves garlic grated or finely chopped
- 1-2 green chilli finely chopped (or as per taste)
- 2 tablespoon ghee
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 black cardamom
- 2-3 cloves
- 1 tablespoon kasuri methi
- 1 teaspoon amchur
- ½ teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- Salt to taste
- Wash the spinach thoroughly. Boil water in a stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water and add the spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes
- Strain the spinach and refresh with cold water to stop cooking any further
- Blend the spinach in a blender. Set aside
- Heat a frypan, add 1 teaspoon ghee. Fry the paneer cubes lightly till golden on the sides. If you are not using them immediately, keep immersed in hot water to keep them soft
- In the same pan, add the remaining ghee. Add cumin seeds and let it splutter
- Add black cardamom, cloves, and bay leaves. Fry for a few seconds
- Add onions and fry until they are lightly golden
- Add ginger, garlic, green chilli, and fry for a further 1-2 minutes
- Add kasuri methi, amchur, red chilli powder, and salt. Mix well
- Add tomato and cook for a few minutes until they are soft
- Add garam masala and cook until the spices and tomatoes are done
- Add the spinach puree and mix well. Add ½ cup hot water to adjust consistency if needed. Bring to a boil
- Simmer for 7-8 minutes or until the spinach is completely cooked
- Add paneer cubes and mix gently. Simmer for 3-4 minutes
- To make a vegan version of this dish, replace paneer with tofu and ghee with an oil of your choice
- You can use fresh paneer instead of frying them if you prefer the fresh creamy taste of paneer
- Optionally you can add a dash of cream while serving
Click here to watch palak paneer web story.