I love Indian food, and my favorite Indian dish is Palak Paneer. It is a mixture of pureed spinach with cubes of fried cheese, and it goes great with some naan bread or basmati rice. After eating and enjoying this dish for many years, I wanted to try making my own, especially since it is easier to eat at home with two kids in tow.
For this recipe, I got the two main ingredients at our local Indian grocery store. Paneer comes in different varieties. You can get it as a solid block that needs to be cut up and fried, or you can get pre-fried paneer (like the one below). I also buy frozen palak, which are large cubes of finely chopped spinach. By finely chopped – it is not like any chopped spinach I have ever bought at my grocery store – I would say it has already been pureed and then frozen.
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger root
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3/4 cup sour cream
3 pounds palak (spinach) – I was able to find four 12oz bags of palak
14 oz paneer (I found two 7oz bags of pre-fried paneer)
1 large tomato, blanched/skin removed/chopped
sea salt and chili powder, to taste
Prepare your dried spices and place in a pinch bowl so that it is ready to add later.
Start by chopping your onion and garlic, and stir fry in a pan. I usually start the onion in the pan a little earlier, since I like to cook it longer than the garlic, adding in the ginger as well.
Add the sour cream and spices. You can always add more sour cream if you want a creamier recipe.
Add the palak (spinach) and tomatoes.
Here you can see what the frozen blocks of spinach look like. Alternately, you can microwave the blocks in a bowl before adding to the pot, but I had no problem cooking them down as long as I kept stirring often.
Once the mixture is heated and mixed thoroughly, turn off the heat. This is where I add my salt and chili powder to taste. I like making my palak paneer a little bit spicy so that it balances out when eaten with basmati rice or naan.
At this point you want to blend the mixture. The easiest way to do this is with an immersion blender, but we have done it in a regular blender. However, if you use a regular blender, be very careful, as warm/hot mixtures can cause the lid to pop off.
I pulse the mixture with the immersion blender, leaving it slightly chunky, but you can blend to whatever texture you like. When I was done, mine had little bits of sauteed onions and tomatoes.
Add your frozen paneer (or microwave before adding). Heat again and serve!
I love my palak paneer with a side of basmati rice, especially when I make it extra spicy!
One of the great things about this recipe is that you can freeze it. What I do is freeze single-serve portions of rice and palak paneer, so I can simply reheat for a meal.
You can find my basmati rice recipe here.
Adapted from this recipe at Allrecipes.