Palak paneer is a healthy and delicious Indian meal. It is made with cheese (paneer)and a creamy spinach (palak) sauce / puree.
You can prepare the paneer yourself (see recipe below) or buy readymade cheese, or replace it with tofu for a vegan version!
As a main dish, this recipe will serve 2 people. Served with rice, naan, or chapati, it will serve up to 4 people.
Spinach curry with cottage cheese / Palak paneer
Ingredients for the spinach curry
- 600 g of spinach shoots or large leaves after removing the stems or about 750 g before removing the stems
- 1 yellow onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 cm fresh ginger
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp garam masala spice mixture or curry spices
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon red pepper or paprika powder
- salt & pepper
- 1 dozen cashews optional
- liquid fresh cream optional
Ingredients for the paneer (cheese)
- 1 L whole milk
- 3 tbsp white vinegar
Preparation of the paneer (it will take at least 75 minutes before you can use the paneer for the next steps of the recipe)
- Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Keep an eye on the pan so that the milk does not overflow.
- Once the milk has boiled, remove the saucepan from the heat, add the white vinegar.
- Stir lightly and let the milk curdle for 10 minutes.
- Then place a clean kitchen towel (or cotton muslin) in a colander.
- Pour in the cheese, and squeeze the cloth while pressing the cheese to drain. Be careful not to burn yourself, help yourself with a wooden spoon if necessary.
- Then, pour the paneer in a small rectangular glass dish and put a sheet of baking paper on top. You can also leave it in the cloth after having given it the shape of a flattened ball.
- Then, put a heavy weight to press the cheese down and let it rest like this for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, place the dish in the refrigerator (or remove the cheese from the cloth and film it before putting in the fridge) and wait for another 30 minutes. After that, you can use the paneer.
- Cut the cheese into 2 cm cubes.
Preparation of the spinach curry.
- While the paneer is cooling, prepare the spinach curry. Rinse the spinach leaves well and remove the veins (stems) if you are using large spinach leaves.
- Put the spinach into a pot of boiling water. You can add the cashew nuts which will bring smoothness to the dish.
- Cook for 3 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water to cool the spinach. Set aside.
- Finely chop the onion, garlic and ginger.
- Fry the onion in butter or oil for a few minutes until it becomes translucent.
- Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute.
- Then add the tomato, then the spices, salt and pepper (adjust the seasoning to your taste).
- Simmer over low heat so that the water in the tomatoes evaporates, stirring from time to time.
- Meanwhile, in a blender, mix the spinach with a dash of lemon juice and/or water. If you have difficulty obtaining a purée, mix with a spoon in the blender bowl and remix with the blender on. You can also simply chop the spinach finely if you prefer a less liquid texture.
- Add the spinach puree to the tomato/spice mixture and mix well to homogenize. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes over very low heat.
- In a frying pan, fry the cubes of paneer in a drizzle of oil or a knob of butter. Brown on one side before turning the cubes over to brown the opposite side. You can also skip this step and add the paneer cubes directly without browning them.
- Incorporate the paneer cubes to the curry, or arrange the paneer cubes when serving on top of the spinach curry.
- Serve with rice, green lentils or naans or simply enjoy on its own!