Palak Paneer is a quintessentially Indian dish, a favorite across the length and breadth of India. Made using Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) and Spinach puree, this restaurant-style dish is a delight to eat with any Indian bread. Here is how to make it.
Clean the spinach and wash it thoroughly under running water.
Once the water comes to a boil, add the cooking soda and spinach and blanch the spinach for 3-4 minutes.
Drain the water and run the spinach under cold water immediately.
Put the spinach a blender along with green chillies and make a smooth paste.
Heat oil in a pan.
Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds and dried red chillies.
Let them crackle for a few seconds.
Add onion and garlic and fry until onion turns translucent.
Add tomato and cook for 3-4 minutes. You can blend the masala in a blender at this stage for a creamier gravy.
Now add coriander powder, garam masala powder and fry for another minute.
Add spinach puree and saute on high heat for minute.
Add paneer, salt and ½ cup water and bring the curry to a boil.
Switch off the heat and add lemon juice and mix well.
For the Dhungar, heat a coal piece until it is red hot. Keep a bowl inside the bowl with curry and keep the 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 give the curry a gentle mix.
Garnish the Palak Paneer with Fresh Cream.
Serve hot with Naan or Phulke.
Tempering - You can give a tempering of cumin and garlic in ghee once the dish is served in the serving bowl. That's how the famous Kesar da Dhaba in Amritsar serve their dish.Frying - You can deep fry or shallow fry the paneer cubes in little oil until browned and then add them in the gravy for a change.Hard Paneer - If the paneer is hard, soak it in warm water for 15 minutes. It will become soft again.Vegan - If you want to make a vegan version, replace paneer with tofu and cream with cashew cream or almond cream.Make it richer - Add fresh cream at the end to make creamier and richer version.With Aloo - Some people add aloo in the gravy and make Aloo Palak Paneer. You can even add corn, makhana or chickpeas to it.