Palak paneer is an Indian dish made with spinach puree and cubes of paneer cheese. It is a quick vegetarian dish and pairs well with naan, roti, paratha, or even steamed basmati rice.
I think most people know this Indian dish with a smooth green puree made with spinach and white cubes which is Indian cottage cheese. Palak means ‘spinach’ and paneer means ‘Indian cottage cheese.
If you look for a palak paneer recipe you will find a few varieties and each one they think is the best. This is one of my favorite Indian curries and it is very simple to make and absolutely delicious. In fact, it’s amazing that even my kids LOVE it.
Ingredients and substitutes
- Spinach – for this recipe it is best to use fresh spinach leaves rather than frozen spinach leaves. We simmer the spinach in boiling water then dunk it in cold water. This is the secret to getting a nice bright green color to the dish.
- Paneer – I used store-bought paneer because it is available in more Indian stores but you can also make your own homemade paneer. To make this vegan or dairy-free you can use tofu. I like to drop the pieces of paneer in the spinach gravy but you can also shallow fry them first.
- Veggies – fresh onions, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes make the base of our gravy. I like to use ginger-garlic paste so it disappears in the sauce.
- Spices – I’ve used simple everyday spices used in most Indian recipes such as coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, and garam masala. If you don’t have these spices you can also use 2 tbsp of curry powder instead.
- Oil – I like to use cooking oil but you can also use ghee or butter to enhance the flavor.
This palak paneer is best served the day it is made. But, leftovers kept can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Palak paneer is made with spinach puree while sag paneer is made with a combination of a few greens like amaranth, spinach, and radish leaves. Some recipes may even include fenugreek leaves, purslane, and dill leaves. You can use this recipe to make saag paneer by just changing the choice of leaves.
Yes, simply use tofu instead of paneer. Alternatively, you can use cubed potato which is also called aloo palak
- 500 grams Spinach fresh
- 300 grams Paneer, Indian cottage cheese
- 2 tbsp Olive oil or cooking oil
- 1 large Onion finely chopped
- 4 large Garlic cloves
- 1 inch Fresh ginger
- 1 large Tomatoes
- 2 medium Green chilies (optional)
- 1 tbsp Red chili powder
- 1 tbsp Coriander powder
- 1 tsp Cumin powder
- ½ tsp Garam masala
- ¼ cup Heavy cream 15 – 25 %
- ½ tsp Kasuri methi (optional)
- ½ tsp Sugar
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- ½ tsp Black pepper
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- Blanch – Clean, trim, and wash the spinach under running water. Add salt and spinach to a pot of boiling water. Blanch for 2 to 3 minutes then drain and put the spinach in a bowl of ice water. Pro tip – dipping in ice water will help retain the bright green color of the spinach.500 grams Spinach
- Blend – Drain the spinach thoroughly and put it in the blender. Blend until smooth. Remove the spinach into a small bowl. In the same blender blend the tomatoes and set aside,
- Saute – In a saute pan over medium heat, add the oil and saute the onions, ginger, garlic, and green chilies.2 tbsp Olive oil, 4 large Garlic cloves, 1 inch Fresh ginger, 2 medium Green chilies, 1 large Onion
- Spices – Next, add the tomato puree and spices. Continue to saute utnil fragrant. Add a few tablespoons of water if necessary.1 tbsp Red chili powder, 1 tbsp Coriander powder, 1 tsp Cumin powder, ½ tsp Garam masala, 1 large Tomatoes
- Spinach – Add the spinach, kasoori methi, sugar, and 1/2 cup of water. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer on low for 10 minutes.½ tsp Kasuri methi, ½ tsp Sugar, ½ tsp Kosher salt, ½ tsp Black pepper
- Finish – Finally, add the heavy cream and combine well. Then add the paneer cubes and lemon juice. Stir carefully. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with a splash of cream on top. Pro tip – paneer can break easily so stir carefully.300 grams Paneer, Indian cottage cheese, ¼ cup Heavy cream, 1 tbsp Lemon juice
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