December 13th, 2011

Palak Paneer/Seasoned Spinach With Paneer Cheese

Palak Paneer/Seasoned Spinach With Paneer Cheese

Ever since I was a child, palak paneer secures a prominent position in the list of my most favourite foods. Hari loves it as much as I do or probably more. The first meal that he finished by himself was a roti with “palak paneen”! So this dish also figures in one of my lanmark moments shared with my son.

Home made palak paneer has a special touch. Rightly spiced and made with just the required amount of oil (no extra oil floating here) this is not just nutritious but highly prized in terms of taste and comfort value in comparison to restaurant style version of the same dish. This was something I discovered only during the final stages of my pregnancy as up until then palak paneer was something that I always ordered at a restaurant and never tried making at home. After all it was just a call away if I wanted some! Cravings of palak paneer and trying to eat healthy during those precious months led me to experiment with this in my kitchen when I could finally enter its realms.

It did take me a couple of trial and error tests to arrive at what I call my “couldnt be better” version of the dish. This required effort in terms of research, thought and tests as it was a “classic dish” and more so a favourite at that! It is difficult to replicate childhood favourites as they are deeply ingrained in your memories to the point of being etched in your soul!

My inlaws have a vegetable garden and when we were visiting them in Bangalore during Diwali, Hari spent a lot of time in the garden, playing on the lawn and watering the plants or sometimes watering water!

It was also an educational experience for him to see so many vegetables, carrots, beans, baby eggplants, tomatoes, lady finger, fenugreek leaves and spinach growing and to learn about the origins of his food through mother earth.

And when he spotted the spinach leaves growing from the ground his request for “palak paneen” was promptly satisfied in the evening by his grandmother.

I often make palak paneer with dal tadka, some rotis and rice rounded off with some lassi (spiced buttermilk). This makes for one of the most satisfying, comforting and delectable meals that nourishes my body, pleases my mind and soothes my soul!

Palak Paneer/Seasoned Spinach With Paneer Cheese  Recipe

Substitute tofu or vegetables like peas, carrots and potatoes for a vegan version. This spinach gravy also tastes great with cooked chickpeas used instead of paneer.

Ingredients:

500 gm, 4 bunches or 7 cups spinach

2 tomatoes, ground (optional)

500 gm paneer, cut into 1” pieces

2 tbsp oil

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

3/4 tsp asafetida

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1 green chili, crushed or finely chopped

2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp cumin seed powder

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

3/4 tsp red chili powder

1 tbsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), crushed

1 1/2 tsp salt

60 ml (1/4 cup) milk or cream

 Method:

Clean, remove the stems and wash the spinach. Place the spinach in boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes, until it wilts completely. Drain and puree the spinach in a blender and keep aside.

Remove the eyes of the tomato and grind to a paste.

Cut the paneer into cubes and keep aside.

In a wok or kadhai, heat the oil over a medium flame. Before it starts to smoke, lower the heat and drop in the cumin seeds, asafetida, ginger paste and minced green chili. Stir for a few seconds and add the pureed tomatoes. When it comes to a boil, put in the coriander, cumin, turmeric and red chili powders.

When the oil begins to separate from the spiced tomato mixture, put in the kasuri methi, pureed spinach and salt and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the paneer cheese and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more*.

Turn off the heat and stir in the milk or cream.

Serve hot or at room temperature with Indian breads or rice.

 

* I find that if the spinach leaves a re bitter, you need to cook longer about 20 minutes for the bitterness to go. If your leaves  are fresh and not bitter then less time will do.

* You can skip the tomatoes if you are skeptical, about combining them with spinach, but I find that tomatoes add a lot of zest to this dish.

Serves 4 to 5

 

 

Filed Under: Asafetida, Ayurvedic Cooking, Brunch, Chili (green), Chili Powder, Comfort Food, Coriander Seed Powder (Dhaniya), Cream, Cumin Seed Powder (jeera powder), Cumin Seeds (Jeera), Dairy Products, Ginger (fresh), Gluten-free Recipes, Indian, Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves), Main Course, Milk, Sides, Spinach, Tomato, Turmeric Powder, Vegan Friendly Recipes, Vegetables · Tags: , , ,

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Comments (29 Comments)

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  1. what lovely burst of color in every picture….palak paneer is my favorite sidedish !

    cheers,
    shruti

  2. Soma says:

    What a splendid garden!! absolutely in love with that tiny little carrot – so cute:) I bet your little one had a fab. time. I would too.

    Palaak Paneer is a hot favorite among my kids too. they can have it every single day.. literally. I use kasuri methi too, but i use onions too. I should try to do with hing and without onion once. looks lovely.

  3. Love all the photos! My daughter is also a real vegetable lover. Whenever she goes vegetate gardens she plucks raw tomatoes and beans out of the plants and eats them. Makes me so happy :)
    I love Palak Paneer. Will try your recipe sometime.

  4. Priya says:

    Wat a wonderful clicks, real feast to eyes, palak paneer looks divine..

  5. prathibha says:

    Love palak paneer…but I don’t add tomatoes 2 this…generally I wont combine palak n tomatoes in d same dish ,not sure but heard that this combination would form stones..:)

  6. OMG, Mouth watering here.. looks really good and tempting.. awesome work dear :)
    Indian Cuisine

  7. DJ says:

    Hi Anushruti,
    At what stage does the Kasuri methi go in? I love dishes made with this wonderful spice! So was searching for it in the recipe :) Will try this when I use palak next time.

  8. Poornima says:

    Anushruti, I am not sure why but for your last two posts, I did not get a mail in my inbox even though I have subscribed. Anyway, not a big deal because I keep visiting your site for other recipes often. I love palak paneer and just a couple of days back, I was talking to my sister about it. I have already started making paneer rite away so that I can make this tonight. I am not a very good cook but whatever I try from your site has never failed me due to your detailed instructions so I am sure this will come out well too..thanks :)

  9. Vidya Sreeram says:

    Drooling over ur ‘Palak Paneen” pics !!! My anytime fav :)
    Great to see the garden snaps too!

  10. Renu says:

    Will try this …
    Tried your strawberry preserve and it turned out really well. I’ve already made a second batch :-)

  11. Anushruti says:

    Thank you everybody for your wonderful comments!

    Soma: Yes…try it once without the onions and with hing, it will taste awesome!

    Chinmayie: That’s great for a child to do so! Unfortunately my little one is a very picky eater!

    Pratibha: I have heard about this too. It is generally believed that this may cause stones as both tomato and palak have high oxalic acid content. But, there is no clinical proof to establish the fact that it might cause stones. The tomato here is very little and if one is skeptical they can always remove the seeds or omit them altogether. And your comment made me probe further only to find that many cook this way…http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/2009/07/07/chole-palak-chickpeas-with-spinach/ and http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/archives/2005/03/29/spinach-dal-palakura-pappu/ and http://showmethecurry.com/subzis-vegetables/palak-paneerpanir.html

    DJ: Thanks for pointing out the omission. With readers like you, I dont need proof readers. Rectified!

    Poornima: How nice to hear that! Thank you for your kind words. Will look into why you are not getting the posts.

    Renu: So happy you liked the strawberry preserve.

  12. sushma says:

    love to see dat it was without onion or garlic n still tasted sooooooooooooooooooo good

  13. I am a paneer lover but never not much of the palak paneer at the restaurants as it always seemed too rich for my liking. But the idea of a home made version and one with chickpeas seems highly interesting !

  14. Nishi says:

    I just loved this saatvic version of palak paneer anushruti!!! I absolutely adore that white kadhai as well. :)

  15. kadhyaa says:

    OMG love that deep green color Anushruthi, great shots. My lil one also loves to pick and choose the veggies from garden and cut it with his knife :)

  16. Anuradha says:

    As usual beautiful snaps Anu..and palak paneer is my family’s favourite dish..

  17. Divya Vikram says:

    Yummy palak paneer and amazing pictures!

  18. Shobha says:

    Hi Anushruti, I was directed to this site by my sister and the first thing I saw was one of my favourite dishes :) I tried palak paneer yesterday nite and it turned out to be absolutely scrumptious. Everyone loved it, even my dad who does not like paneer much as a rule could not stop himself from second helpings. I am not a very good cook as such and I cannot tell you how happy it made me when things came together just like you described and it started looking like actual palak paneer :) . Thank you for your wonderful work and the lovely pictures. Your son’s hands are poster cards for innocence :)

  19. Shruti Rajesh Manurkar says:

    Lovely Pics…..Simply awesome…..a visual treat…

    Excellent work.

  20. Hi this is my first time on your blog and i am spellbound seeing all these garden pictures. I have a small vegetable patch too, fresh from the garden vegetables or herbs have their own charm. That little carrot steals the show anyways here.

    Palak paneer…an all time fave…your serving dish shaped like a kadai is so pretty. I am wondering what material it is :-)

  21. Kavi says:

    You click awesome photos! :) And I love that there’s no onions in the recipe. Looks perfect!

    -
    Kavi | Edible Entertainment

  22. El says:

    I’m so glad you made this dish. This is one of my favorites to order when we eat out. Now I can actually try to make it at home. Although, I admit, I’ve never heard of asafetida- can I do without or do I need to hunt down the ingredient?

  23. Anushruti says:

    Thank you everybody for your comments. Just want to let you all know that each and every comment is precious to me!

    Sushma: Glad that this disproved the myth that food tastes good only with onion and garlic.

    Gayathri: Yes this tastes great even with chickpeas.

    Shobha: Your comment made my day! I hope you will try some of my other recipes too.

    Sangeeta: Homegrown vegetables are a luxury for us. You are indeed very fortunate. The kadhai is ceramic.

    EL: I can’t cook without asafetida. It lends a unique special flavour here. Its worth hunting down, easily available in most spice shops or Indian stores and lends itself to many Indian dishes like dal, curries and vegetables.

  24. usha says:

    hi anu great job

  25. Ashwini Kumble says:

    Hi Anu What a wonderful post! The pictures look so sunny & fresh, that though I am right now sitting in my office in a closed cube, it almost felt I was in a garden for a few minutes :)
    I will be trying this dish tonight..

  26. Ashwini Kumble says:

    Wow! What precise instructions! Palak Paneer came out superb :) thank you..

  27. Anushruti says:

    Ashwini: You are welcome. Your success with these recipes and feedback thereafter makes me really happy.

  28. richa says:

    Thanks so much for the recipe and sharing your knowledge with us all. This recipe turned out very nice .Great photographs of the veg garden – everything looks so fresh!

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