The thing that I am loving so much about cooking Indian food is that I’m realizing that it’s not as difficult as I assumed it would be. Because we live in a small city that has a pretty lame food scene, one of our favorite things to do when we go somewhere more urban is to eat as many different kinds of ethnic foods as humanly possible. Usually among the mix is eating somewhere that has Indian food because it’s so gosh darn delicious. Over the years we have dined at many Indian restaurants, in awe of the complex & savory flavors & now that I’ve got a few recipes under my belt, we’ll be happily enjoying them more at home.
The Indian food that we have made lately has not been complicated, but the ingredient list is usually a bit longer than our average meals. Most of those items end up being all different kinds of spices that complement each other better than the well-loved peanut butter & jelly. They all come together to form a rich & hearty meal that will satisfy your mouths & bellies alike & always leave you wanting more. Luckily when you make it at home, it is so much more cost-effective, so it can be enjoyed all the more.
This particular dish is one of the most popular Paneer recipes, along with Paneer Butter Marsala & Kadia Paneer, neither of which we have actually tasted. But now that I’ve got this recipe squared away & I have discovered a love affair with this cheese, I will be experimenting more in the future. To break it down, Palak Paneer is basically cubes of soft Indian farmer’s cheese that’s cooked in a rich spinach curry. What’s not to love? And although it’s traditionally vegetarian, you could definitely add some additional protein if you need a bit more punch. Heck, tofu would even be delicious here.
We love to eat this Palak Paneer with a hefty side of basmati rice & of course a few pieces of naan bread to soak up all the curry. And although you can most definitely purchase naan in even the simplest of grocery stores, it is quite easy (& exciting!) to make at home. Come back on Saturday for our homemade naan recipe that will quite literally blow you away.
- 6 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 8 oz Paneer cheese, cubed
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1" piece of ginger, minced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 green chilies, minced
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 2 tsp *Garam Masala
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- Salt to taste
- 6 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- Hot water, as needed
- *A spice blend that is available in Indian food stores. If you can’t find it, you can make it yourself by mixing 1 tbsp cumin, 1 1/2 tsp coriander, 1 1/2 cardamom, 1 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, & 1/2 tsp nutmeg.
Wash & dry the spinach leaves & then chop them up into small pieces. Heat a skillet & add 1 tbsp of the oil & saute the spinach leaves until they are wilty & cooked through. Allow them to cool down & set aside.
In the same skillet, add 2 tbsp of the oil & onions & cook until they are soft. Add the ginger & cook for a few more minutes. Add in the tomatoes & cook until the oil starts to release. Remove the skillet from the heat & allow this mixture to cool down.
Take the cooked spinach & the onion mixture & blend it in a food processor until it's pureed. Put this mixture back into the skillet & add the remaining spices. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. If the mixture seems too thick, add a bit of hot water 1 tbsp at a time.
Turn the heat down to low & add the heavy cream. Mix well & then add the paneer right before serving. Serve with fresh rice & naan bread.
Recipe adapted from Manju's Eating Delights
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