Palak Paneer is one of the riches and vegetarian recipes made with spinach, Indian farmer’s cheese, curry spices, garam masala, and tomatoes. If you think vegetarian dishes are bland and boring, then you’re mistaken. The dish may sound simple but when you taste it, you’re in for a main course with a complexity of flavors. After all, Indian cuisine is king when it comes to flavorful, aromatic and spicy recipes with zero meat in it.
This recipe of Palak Paneer is popular among Indians and Pakistanis. They may not get along well when it comes to borders and politics, but they definitely agree when it comes to a delicious bowl of Palak Paneer. This thick curry dish is nutritious and contains just the right amount of spices for novice eaters of hot Indian and Pakistani cuisine. It is topped over a steaming bowl of rice or usually served with naan or roti.
Still, the dish contains no less than five different spices which are all intense and potent. Garam masala is one of the ingredients of this recipe. Technically, if you break down the ingredients contained in the powder, you will end up with more than ten spices in this recipe! Garam masala is a blend of peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, and cardamom, and is typically sold in packs like curry powder. Most of the ingredients listed here are available at an Indian grocery.
Paneer is fresh cheese of Indian origin. It is made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice, vinegar, or some other acidic ingredient. Because it does not use rennet as a coagulating agent as with many cheeses in the world, paneer is a lacto-vegetarian cheese that can be easily made at home. To make one you need milk, lemon or lime juice, and cheesecloth. To separate the curds from the whey Lemon juice is added to the hot milk. The curds are then drained in cheesecloth or muslin. Excess water is pressed out and the result is paneer cheese. It is then dipped in cold water for two to three hours to give it texture and a solid appearance.
2 cup Paneer/Tofu
4 tbsp. vegetable/sunflower oil
1 large onion chopped fine
2 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. ginger paste
1 1/2 cup spinach
1/3 cup fresh fenugreek leaves
1 large tomato diced
2 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp. of butter to garnish
1. Cut the paneer in small cubes. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and fry the paneer cubes on a medium flame until they become light brown. Remove and drain the excess oil.
2. On the same pan add 2 tbsp of oil and fry the onions until they are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and ginger pastes and fry for a minute.
3. Mixing well, add the spinach, fenugreek leaves, tomato, coriander, cumin, turmeric and garam masala powders. Add salt to taste. Stir until everything is well incorporated.
4. Continue cooking until the spinach and fenugreek leaves are soft and they turn to a pulp. Mash well into a rough paste. Or if you prefer, you can blend this paste in the food processor to get a smoother consistency.