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Friday, 8 November 2013

Palak Paneer / Cottage Cheese in Creamy Spinach

PALAK PANEER is cottage cheese / paneer in creamy spinach gravy. The name of the dish is derived from the type of spinach that is used in this dish. I have to confess, this is the only way my mom was able to make me eat spinach. This recipe is hers and I follow it just the way she taught me. Its a very simple gravy to make. Except you need to keep few key points while cooking the spinach so that the colour is retained and at the same time the spinach is completely cooked (I hate raw taste of spinach in this gravy!) 

I also make Palak Chicken in the same way. Serve hot with roti or Naan

Serves 4
You Will Need:

200g of Paneer / Cottage Cheese, Cubed
500g of Palak Spinach, washed, stems cut off and roughly chopped
1 Medium Onion, Finelly Chopped
Onion Paste
1 tbsp Crushed Kasuri Methi
1 tsp of Garam Masala 
1 tsp of Cumin Powder
1.5 Cups of Whole / Tonned Milk 
Cream - 2 tbsp (Optional)
Salt to taste
3 - 4 tbsp Butter / Oil

Onion paste:
2 Medium Sized Onion, Diced
6 Cashew Nuts
3 Green Chilli 
5 Garlic Gloves
2 Inch Ginger 

The Cooking

Soak the cubed paneer in milk. That's what my mom does when preparing paneer for any gravy. It keeps the paneer soft. Many fry the paneer but I have always avoided that. Because the paneer tends to harden once the gravy cools. 

Boil a cup of water and blanch the Palak on medium heat for  5 - 7 min. Drain, run under cold water and squeeze excess water from the spinach and blend to a smooth purée. Keep Aside.

Heat little oil on a pan and sauté the onions, chilli, cashew, ginger and garlic till the onions are pink and translucent. Cool completely and grind to a smooth paste.

Now on a hot pan, add ghee / oil / butter and sauté the finely chopped onions till they turn golden brown and soft. Once that's done add the onion paste and kasuri methi. Keep sautéing the onion paste till they turn a golden brown colour and become non sticky., which means the onion will start to lump around and no more stick to the bottom. This would take few mins on high heat. 

Pour in the milk on low heat and stir till well combined. Add salt, cumin powder and garam masala. Add the cubed paneer and bring it to a gentle boil stirring occasionally. Once the gravy has thickened pour in the spinach purée and stir. 

Once the gravy begins to gently bubble, turn off heat and immediately transfer the gravy to a serving dish. 

Important Pointers:
  • Don't blanch the Palak more than 10 min. It will lose its colour.
  • Retain the water strained from the Palak  you can add it while blending the onion paste or you can pour it back in the gravy.
  • When adding kasuri methi crush them between your palms so that they don't hinder when eating. 
  • Palak must be added only in the end. Once added DO NOT cook the Palak for more than a min. It will lose its nice green colour and turn a tint brown. 
Happy Cooking!


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