Friday, 30 March 2012

Palak/Saag Paneer - Curried Spinach with Indian Cottage Cheese

The weather is getting warmer. There is an occasional bird chirping and shrill sounds of squirrels on the trees. So now it's bye bye to the bulky blankets and woolies which have been stashed away and will see sight next winter. All this sudden warmth and chirpiness coaxes me to brighten my cooking!

So, today's recipe is adapted from the world famous Punjabi cuisine and this will surely brighten your day. Rich in flavours this cuisine is a delight. Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Tikka, Chole-Batura, Dal Makhani, Kebabs, Makki Di Roti and Sarson Ka Saag to name a few are the popular ones. Milk and milk products are an important part of their cuisine and Palak Paneer is no exception. I love this recipe especially for it's simplicity, unlike most other paneer recipes.

Paneer smothered in a thick but fresh leafy gravy is now a household name. The dash of spices smoothly blends with the saag to make an aromatic dish and yet flavours subtle enough to gently tease your palate. Paired with rice or rotis, they are a great party treat.

This was my first attempt at making my all time favourite Indian dish. I love the great combination of the spinach and the spices. The recipe is rather simple and we loved it. And I strongly believe that when Indian food is cooked properly it is the healthiest of cuisines in the world. I like spices but I also like to let flavours of each vegetable take the main role in the dish. So you can see here that the spices and aromatics have taken a step back not taking away the attention from the spinach. Though the spices are limited here, but it still has a strong aroma of all the Indian flavours.

So, as I sit here basking in the warm Bangalore sun, I hope you will enjoy this paneer dish with the dash of fresh colours.


Paneer - 200 gms
Spinach/Palak - 2 large bunches
Big Onion (finely chopped) - 2 (medium)
Tomatoes (finely chopped) - 2 (small)
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Garlic (finely chopped) – 6 to 7 cloves
Ginger (finely chopped) - 1 small piece
Green chillies - 2 to 3 (adjust as per spice tolerance)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Cracked pepper - 1/4 tsp
Fresh Cream - 4 tbsp (optional)
Salt - to taste
Ghee/Clarified Butter or Oil


Remove stems and wash the spinach thoroughly under running water. Blanch in salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and toss into chilled or cold water. (this helps to stop the cooking process and retain the fresh colour of the green leaves) Squeeze out the excess water and keep aside. Roughly chop the green chillies. Blend the spinach along with green chillies to a smooth consistency. Keep this mixture aside.

Dice paneer into 1 inch cubes. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and shallow fry the paneer cubes till they start turning slight golden brown. Toss the fried paneer cubes into cold water. After a few minutes, drain and keep aside. (this process removes excess oil and helps the paneer to remain soft)

Heat ghee in a pan and splutter cumin seeds. Add the finely chopped onions and saut'e till it turns golden brown. Toss in the chopped garlic, ginger and coriander powder and fry tell raw smell disappears. To this, add the chopped tomatoes and salt and stir till it turns soft and oil floats. Pour in the spinach puree and combine well. Add cracked pepper and check for salt at this stage. Add a little water if necessary and when the gravy comes to a boil, throw in the paneer cubes and stir well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes on low heat. Finally, add fresh cream and a small blop of butter on top of the curry before serving.

Serve hot with rotis, chapathis, pulav or just simple plain rice.


  1. Donna! i was so surprised to stumble on to your blog!!! i was randomly searching for a palak paneer recipe, and ended up here :D
    awesome ya... will go thru the rest of the recipes for sure.. and good luck with everything!

  2. Thanks a ton Rithu....haven't posted a recipe in a while....hopefully will do soon...Happy cooking!!!


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