Recipe Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer is a popular North Indian dish known for its rich, creamy spinach gravy and chunks of soft paneer (Indian cottage cheese). Bursting with flavours and nutrients, this dish is a favourite among vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Here's how you can prepare it at home.

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams of paneer (cottage cheese), cut into cubes
  • 300 grams of spinach (palak), washed and chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 green chillies, chopped (adjust according to spice preference)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil or ghee
  • 2 tablespoons cream (optional, for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Blanch the Spinach: Boil water in a pot and blanch the chopped spinach for 2-3 minutes. Drain and transfer the spinach to a bowl of cold water. This helps retain the vibrant green colour. Blend the spinach into a smooth puree and set aside.

  2. Prepare the Paneer: Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and lightly fry the paneer cubes until they turn golden brown. Remove them from the pan and set aside.

  3. Make the Gravy: Add another tablespoon of oil in the same pan. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter. Then, add chopped onions and sauté until they turn translucent. Add minced garlic, grated ginger, and green chillies, and cook for another minute.

  4. Add Tomatoes and Spices: Add chopped tomatoes to the pan and cook until they soften and the oil separates. Then, add garam masala, coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, and salt. Stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  5. Combine Spinach Puree: Pour the spinach puree into the pan and mix well with the spice mixture. Let it simmer on low heat for 5-7 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld together.

  6. Add Paneer: Gently add the fried paneer cubes to the spinach gravy. Stir gently to coat the paneer with the sauce. Let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes.

  7. Garnish and Serve: Turn off the heat once the palak paneer is cooked. Optionally, drizzle some cream over the top for added richness and garnish with a sprinkle of garam masala.

Tips:

  • For a creamier texture, you can blend a handful of cashews and spinach.
  • Adjust the spice levels according to your preference by increasing or decreasing the number of green chillies and red chilli powder.
  • Use fresh paneer for the best taste and texture. If using store-bought paneer, soak it in warm water for 15-20 minutes before using to soften it.
  • Don't overcook the spinach to maintain its vibrant colour and nutrient content.

Variations:

  • Substitute spinach with other leafy greens like kale or mustard for a different flavour profile.
  • Add a handful of fenugreek leaves (methi) and spinach for a unique taste.
  • Experiment with spices like Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) or curry leaves for added aroma.

Nutritional Information: (Per Serving, approximately)

  • Calories: 250 kcal
  • Protein: 10g
  • Fat: 18g
  • Carbohydrates: 10g
  • Fiber: 3g

Conclusion: Palak Paneer is a flavorful and nutritious dish packed with the goodness of spinach and paneer. With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow steps, you can recreate this classic Indian dish in your kitchen. Whether served with roti, naan, or rice, it's sure to be a hit at your dining table, offering a satisfying meal that tantalises the taste buds.

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