Palak Paneer

4.66 from 26 votes
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Made using paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and spinach puree, this Palak Paneer Curry is a delight to eat with any Indian bread. Follow my simple recipe to make it at home.

Here are some more palak recipes that you can try: Palak Raita, Palak Pakoda, Dal Palak, Palak Chole, and Saag Paneer.

Palak paneer served in a bowl.
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My son Bhavye eats very few Indian dishes. His taste for spices and masalas somehow didn’t develop. But Palak Paneer is one of the Indian recipes that he loves. Maybe because it is not loaded with too many spices, and the flavor of spinach shines through.

I had tasted palak paneer at multiple restaurants and at multiple homes. If I can boast a little about myself, my recipe to make Palak Paneer is THE BEST!

To make my recipe perfect, I made it multiple times with variations. The key takeaways from my experimentation are here.

  • Adding a little baking soda or sugar while blanching the spinach makes a lot of difference in the color of the final curry.
  • Doing a dhungar works like a charm to give the curry a restaurant-like smoky flavor.
  • When serving the curry to guests, tempering garlic and dry red chilies in ghee is a great idea to make it more indulgent. I also add some heavy cream whenever I want to Oomph up the taste.

About Palak Paneer

Palak is spinach, and paneer is Indian cottage cheese. Palak Paneer is a combination of both in a delicious gravy.

This curry is popular in North India. It is served in most Indian restaurants and dhabas (Indian roadside eateries) and can also be made at home. Everyone has a different way of making it.

In this post, I share the recipe I have perfected over the years. Serve it with naan, lachha paratha, or any other Indian bread for a delicious meal.

Ingredients

Spinach (Palak) – Try to use fresh, small leaves. The quality of the palak makes a big difference in the taste of this dish. During our stay in the US, I made this curry using frozen spinach from Costco, and it worked just fine.

Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) – You can get paneer at any Indian store. Many regular grocery stores in the US also carry paneer these days.

You can deep or shallow-fry the paneer cubes in a little oil until browned, and then add them to the gravy for a change.

If the paneer is hard, soak it in warm water for 15 minutes. It will become soft again.

Lime Juice – Adding lime juice at the end ensures the body absorbs the iron from spinach well. It also adds to the taste.

Spices – You will need basic spices like cumin seeds, dry red chilies, coriander powder, and garam masala powder.

Others – Oil, baking soda, salt, green chilies, onions, tomatoes, ginger, and garlic are also required to make this recipe.

Adding a little cream at the end makes this dish very tempting. I don’t add it when making this curry for home-style meals, but I add a little when I have guests.

To make a vegan version, replace paneer with tofu and fresh cream with Greek yogurt, almond cream, or cashew cream. This version will also be healthier.

You can also replace paneer with chickpeas or corn.

How To Make Palak Paneer

Blanch The Spinach

Heat 5-6 cups of water in a large pot.

Once the water comes to a boil, add the baking soda, green chilies, and spinach, and blanch the spinach for 2 minutes.

Baking soda, green chilies and spinach added to boiling water.

Drain the water and run the spinach under ice-cold water immediately. Keep aside.

Spinach and chilies added to ice cold water.

Make The Onion-Tomato Masala

Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds and dried red chilies.

Cumin seeds and dry red chilies added to hot oil in a pan.

Let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.

Add onion and garlic, and fry until onion turns light brown (5-6 minutes), stirring frequently.

Onions and garlic added to the pan.

Add tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. 

Tomatoes added to the pan.

Add coriander powder and cook for 1 minute.

Coriander powder added to the pan.

Remove the pan from heat and cool for 10 minutes.

Ready onion-tomato masala.

Puree The Ingredients

Transfer the blanched spinach to a blender with the onion-tomato mixture and ½ cup of water. Blend until smooth.

Blanched spinach and green chilies, onion-tomato masala and water added to a blender.
Smooth mixture made.

Make The Curry

Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

Once the oil is hot, add the spinach masala paste. Cook for 1 minute.

Spinach paste added to hot oil in a pan.

Add garam masala powder, paneer, salt, and ½ cup water and mix well. Bring the curry to a boil.

Add fresh cream at this stage if you want to.

Check for salt and add more if needed.

Water, paneer cubes, salt and garam masala powder added to the pan.

Switch off the heat, add lime juice, and mix well.

Adding lime juice to the pan.

Dhungar (Optional)

For the Dhungar, heat a piece of coal until it is red hot. Place a bowl inside the bowl with curry and a piece of coal on top of it. Pour a teaspoon of ghee on top of the coal and immediately close the lid of the main bowl.

Let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

Open the lid, remove the coal piece and the small bowl, and gently mix the curry.

Tempering (Optional)

Heat ghee in a pan over medium-high heat.

Add garlic and dry red chilies and fry until garlic turns golden brown.

Garlic and dry red chilies added to hot ghee in a pan.

Pour the tempering over the curry. Serve hot.

Tempering poured over ready palak paneer curry.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to clean spinach?

Cleaning the greens, especially if you live in India, is a challenge. The greens come directly from the farms, which is a very good thing, but they are full of mud and dirt. So we have to make sure they are cleaned very nicely before cooking.

To clean the greens well, fill a large pot with water. Soak the greens in water for 5 minutes. The dirt will settle down. Now, gently remove the greens from the top and discard the water. Repeat this process 2-3 times.

What is the difference between palak paneer and saag paneer?

To make palak paneer, only spinach is used, while to make saag paneer, other greens, like mustard greens, fenugreek leaves, etc, are also used along with spinach. 

There is a similar Kashmiri dish called Methi Chaman. It has spinach and methi as the base gravy ingredients. Fried paneer cubes are added to it later.

Storage Suggestions

You can refrigerate it for 2-3 days in airtight containers.

If you want to freeze this dish, don’t add cream and paneer cubes at the end. Just freeze the gravy in freezer-safe containers.

When you are ready to serve, thaw the gravy for 3-4 hours. Then re-heat until nicely warmed. Now add fresh cream and paneer cubes and cook for another minute. You can also make the curry and refrigerate it for 2-3 days. Add the paneer cubes once you are ready to serve.

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Made using paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and spinach puree, this Palak Paneer Curry is a delight to eat with any Indian bread. Follow my simple recipe to make it at home.
4.66 from 26 votes

Palak Paneer Recipe

Made using paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and spinach puree, this palak paneer curry is a delight to eat with any Indian bread. Follow my simple recipe to make it at home.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

To Blanch The Spinach

  • 200 grams spinach (palak)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2-3 green chilies

To Make Onion-Tomato Masala

  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2-3 dry red chilies
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 5-6 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder

To Make The Curry

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 200 grams paneer
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice

For The Dhungar (Optional)

  • 1 piece of coal
  • 1 teaspoon ghee

For The Tempering (Optional)

  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 dry red chili (cut into small pieces)
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Instructions 

Blanch The Spinach

  • Heat 5-6 cups of water in a large pot.
  • Once the water comes to a boil, add the baking soda, green chilies, and spinach, and blanch the spinach for 2 minutes.
  • Drain the water and run the spinach under ice-cold water immediately. Keep aside.

Make The Onion-Tomato Masala

  • Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds and dried red chilies.
  • Let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.
  • Add onion and garlic, and fry until onion turns light brown (5-6 minutes), stirring frequently.
  • Add tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. 
  • Add coriander powder and cook for 1 minute.
  • Remove the pan from heat and cool for 10 minutes.

Puree The Ingredients

  • Transfer the blanched spinach to a blender with the onion-tomato mixture and ½ cup of water. Blend until smooth.

Make The Curry

  • Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the spinach masala paste. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add garam masala powder, paneer, salt, and ½ cup water and mix well. Bring the curry to a boil.
  • Add fresh cream at this stage if you want to.
  • Check for salt and add more if needed.
  • Switch off the heat, add lime juice, and mix well.

Dhungar (Optional)

  • Heat a piece of coal until it is red hot. Place a bowl inside the bowl with curry and a piece of coal on top of it. Pour a teaspoon of ghee on top of the coal and immediately close the lid of the main bowl.
  • Let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
  • Open the lid, remove the coal piece and the small bowl, and gently mix the curry.

Tempering (Optional)

  • Heat ghee in a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add garlic and dry red chilies and fry until garlic turns golden brown.
  • Pour the tempering over the curry. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 350kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 20g, Cholesterol: 43mg, Sodium: 217mg, Potassium: 572mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 5450IU, Vitamin C: 77.1mg, Calcium: 327mg, Iron: 2.4mg
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Recipe Rating




19 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Lovely recipe Neha! I have tried many many of your recipes and they all turn out lovely! My kids used to love only restaurant North Indian dishes. Being a South Indian, I could never capture that. But with your recipes, my kids are enjoying home food 😊 Thank you!!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this the other day and it came out great! I substituted tofu for paneer and added a mix of cream cheese, yogurt, & sour cream to get back some of the creaminess the tofu itself wouldn’t provide. It’s my second time making this dish; between my previous recipe and this recipe I definitely prefer this one! 😁

  3. Thank you so much for the recipe. With all the details that you provided, it had to be perfect. It was the first time I had cooked palak paneer, and it was finger licking good. Kudos to you…

  4. 5 stars
    Very nice recipe thanks for sharing. I didn’t knew that you can add baking soda or sugar to maintain the green color of the spiach, thanks for the tip. I was just transferring the spinach immidiately from boiled water to ice cold water to maintain it’s color and it was also working quite well for me. Again thanks for such a wonderful recipe.????

  5. 5 stars
    This was delicious. I tried the recipe at home and loved it. I used homemade fresh cream and homemade paneer for this recipe and it was amazing. Thank you.

  6. 5 stars
    This dish was AMAZING!! SO easy, full of flavour and absolutely delicious. We had it with rice and homemade naan bread!
    Thanks for the clear instructions and quality recipe 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Hi ,

    This is sooo good . My husband loved it .Actually we are vegan . So just changed paneer to tofu and cream to vegan curd . Thank you so much for sharing it..!