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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Palak Paneer - A cottage cheese curry with spinach

Yum
Palak paneer is basically soft paneer or cottage cheese cubes cooked in a smooth spinach curry. This is very popular in North India and it is a blend of rich taste and goodness of spinach. My kids and husband both love this dish so much that I need to frequently prepare this recipe. I have not made this spicy enough like restaurant but I believe you will find it tasty enough.

Preparation Time: - 10 min

Cooking Time: - 20~25 min

Servings: - 2 persons

Ingredients:-

  1. 2  medium sized bunch of spinach
  2. 200 gm Paneer (cottage cheese) cut into cubes
  3. 1~2 green chilly cut lengthwise
  4. 1 large onion finely chopped
  5. 4~5 garlic cloves crushed or paste
  6. 1/2 inch Ginger
  7. Pinch of Hing /Asafetida (optional)
  8. 1 tsp whole jeera (cumin)
  9. 1 tsp lemon juice
  10.  Salt  and sugar to taste
  11. ½ tsp Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  12. 3 tbsp Milk / fresh Cream / Malai
  13. ½ cup water
  14. 1~1 ½ tbsp Ghee ( For homemade  Ghee please refer my earlier post)
  15. 3 ½ tbsp vegetable oil ( I used Sunflower Oil)
  16. 1 tsp Garam Masala

Preparation:-

  1. Clean and wash spinach in water to remove any soil or impurities.
  2. Add water in a pan and heat it to the point of boiling. Add a pinch of sugar and salt.
  3. Pour the spinach in it and cook for 5 min without lid
  4. We need to blanch Palak to retain the green colors. Hence take the Palak from hot water to a pot and pour ice cold water on it. Keep it there for 2 min and then drain water.
  5. Use a blender /mixer and add the spinach, ginger and salt in it. Grind the spinach for 1 min into smooth paste. My old Sumeet mixer is powerful enough to do it in 30 seconds.
  6. Heat 1 ½ tbsp oil+ ½ tsp Ghee in a non-stick pan /kadai.  
  7. Shallow fry the paneer cubes with a little salt till they turn light brown. The addition of ghee here emits a nice aroma. Health conscious people can skip the Ghee. Keep aside.
  8. Use the same kadai/non stick pan and start heating the remaining oil and ghee together.
  9. When the mixture is hot enough turn the burner into medium flame and add jeera followed by Garlic. Sauté for a minute.
  10. Add the onion, green chilies and a pinch of asafetida. Continue sauté for 5 min.
  11. Add the spinach paste and stir continuously for 2~3 min. Add water.
  12. Add salt and sugar here if you feel so.
  13. Mix well and bring it to boil. Stir occasionally in between.
  14. When gravy starts to boil, add shallow fried paneer cubes and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  15. Pour the lemon juice, Kasuri Methi and Garam Masala into the gravy
  16. Boil for 1 more minute and turn off the burner
  17. Add the fresh cream /milk. Mix it properly and your dish is ready. You can skip the milk /fresh cream if you are having any health issue but the creaminess of the gravy will be missing.

Serve with any kind of paratha , tandoori roti /plan roti, or butter /plain naan. You can also have it with jeera rice.

If you want to the paneer to be very soft then you can soak it in hot water for 10 min before frying. If you are calorie conscious type then you can avoid frying the paneer or can use Tofu instead of Paneer.

Please note that you can add Tomato puree and Turmeric powder during cooking but I have avoided them so that the color does not change.

As always please feel free to comment, criticize and seek if any help is required. I am all ears.

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