Palak Paneer Recipe that is even better than the ones served at restaurants!
Yes! I claim that my Palak Paneer is way better than what is served at some of the Punjabi cuisine restaurants. And, my work on this recipe over the years has somewhat earned me this bragging right. One of the most essential aspect of a good Palak Paneer recipe is that the spinach gravy should be luscious and completely free of fibrous stalks and stems of Spinach. For me, anything lesser than this is completely unacceptable. I simply refuse having a green goop being served as Palak Paneer.
So, this Punjabi Palak Paneer recipe is smooth, mildly spicy, adequately rich and has all the nutrients of the greens intact!
How to make Palak Paneer, even better than the restaurants?
Can anything be simpler or easier than this recipe? Well, I don’t think so. If one has all the ingredients than it takes no more than 30 minutes to whip up some magic for dinner for 2 persons. By this time, you must have noticed that all the recipes are for 2 people because I shop like that and make in such a quantity so that me and S can finish it off in one meal.
However, if I am left with some leftovers, then I don’t mind! It makes my life easier next day as I don’t have to worry about my lunch. By the way, this Palak Paneer tastes even better the next day.
Now, when I buy Cottage Cheese or Paneer, I generally buy 250 gms. blister pack, which is again too much for us for a single meal. Now, S isn’t much of a fan of paneer. He may eat a piece or two quietly, but anything more than that would get passed on to my plate. So, I divide the bar of paneer into two and cook one half only. This time I had some beautiful fresh spinach in my veggie bin, so here’s my super easy Palak Paneer recipe.
If you are wondering what happens with the other half of it, then rest assured because it goes into our breakfast next day Paneer Bhurji.
What can we eat with Palak Paneer?
Usually, Indian flatbreads like Chapattis, Rotis, Naans, or Paranthas are served with Punjabi Palak Paneer. This kind of combination would be common on an Indian dinner table. However, in a special menu like on weddings or parties, Palak Paneer is also served with Lachha Parantha, Missi Roti or even Stuffed Naans.
I claim that my Palak Paneer is way better than what is served at some of the Punjabi cuisine restaurants. And, my work on this recipe over the years has somewhat earned me this bragging right. One of the most essential aspect of a good Palak Paneer recipe is that the spinach gravy should be luscious and completely free of fibrous stalks and stems of Spinach. For me, anything lesser than this is completely unacceptable. I simply refuse having a green goop being served as Palak Paneer.
- 500 gms. Spinach Leaves - keep the stems as well
- 150 gms Paneer or Cottage Cheese Replace it with Tofu for Vegan option
- 2 Tomatoes - cut in 4 cubes
- 1 Onion - cut in 4 cubes MEdium Size
- 8 Cloves of Garlic
- 2 inches Ginger
- ½ tsp Jeera or Cumin Seeds
- ¼ tsp Shahi Jeera or Black Cumin Seeds
- A pinch of Hing or Asafoetida Powder
- Salt to Taste
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- 2 tsp Coriander Powder
- 3 tbsp Ghee to cook You may replace it with Mustard Oil for VEgan option
- ½ tsp Kasoori Methi/Fenugreek Leaves
- 2 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
- 1 tsp Fresh Cream Omit for Vegan option
- 2 Dried Red Chilies
- ½ tsp Garam Masala Powder
Pressure cook the Palak or Spinach leaves with its stem with Salt and 1/4 cup of water. Let it whistle for 3-4 times before taking it off the heat.
Once it cools, open the lid and blend the entire content into a smooth puree.
While you may keep it aside to cool off completely before running it into your mixer, otherwise, if you are in a hurry, blend it hot without the lid, but covering the mixing jar with a clean kitchen towel.
This would allow to escape the steam and prevent the splattering of the green slurry everywhere around. Believe me, it's a pain to clean a green mess, as it tends to stick!! 🙁 Experience speaks here....
Anyways, once its done, keep this puree aside. Make a puree of the Tomato, Onion, Garlic and Ginger.
Heat the ghee/mustard oil in a pan. Keep the heat on medium and temper the ghee or oil with Cumin seeds, Black Cumin Seeds, dried Red Chilies and Asafoetida or Hing.
Once they start splattering, add the puree of Onion and Tomato in it. Fry till the tomatoes-onion mix loose the raw texture. It should also reduce in amount
Now, add Ketchup, Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, Garam Masala & Kasoori Methi to the Onion mix. Fry till you can see some of the fat separating from the edges of the masala mix.
Now, add the Palak or Spinach puree into the fried masala and mix everything well. Let it simmer for next 15-20 minutes on medium-high heat. Keep stirring it once in a while to prevent it sticking at the bottom. You may put the lid while it simmers as it tends to splatter and messes everything around.
Once you see that the water content has been reduced, fry the rest of on high heat for 2-3 minutes.
Now, add the Paneer or Cottage Cheese cubes and some cream. Mix everything well and let it bubble-boil once. Turn off the heat and serve.
Note, I shallow fried the Paneer cubes in a teaspoon of ghee before putting them in the gravy. That is how my family prefers. However, this is totally optional.