Palak paneer is a popular Indian dish made with paneer (a type of Indian cheese) and palak (spinach). The paneer is cubed and cooked with a spiced spinach puree, making for a delicious and nutritious meal. It is often served with rice or flatbreads like naan or roti.
Palak Paneer Recipe
- 1 lb paneer, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups packed fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 inch ginger, roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp ghee or oil
- 1 cup heavy cream
Instructions to Make Palak Paneer :-
- Rinse the spinach and remove the stems. In a blender or food processor, combine the spinach, water, onion, garlic, and ginger. Blend until smooth.
- In a large pan, heat the ghee or oil over medium heat. Add the paneer cubes and fry until they are golden brown on all sides. Remove the paneer from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, add the spinach puree and the spices (garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, and salt). Stir to combine.
- Add the paneer back into the pan and stir to coat the cubes with the spinach mixture.
- Add the heavy cream and stir to combine.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
- Serve hot with rice or flatbreads. Enjoy!
Difference Between Palak Paneer and Saag Paneer
Palak paneer and saag paneer are both dishes that feature paneer (a type of Indian cheese) and a pureed leafy green vegetable, but the main difference between the two dishes is the type of leafy green that is used. Palak paneer is made with spinach (palak in Hindi), while saag paneer is made with mustard greens (sag in Hindi).
Another difference between the two dishes is the level of spiciness. Palak paneer tends to be slightly milder in flavor than saag paneer, which is often spicier due to the use of mustard greens.
Both dishes are typically served with rice or flatbreads and are a popular choice at Indian restaurants. They are also relatively easy to make at home and make for a delicious and nutritious meal.
What to Eat With Palak Paneer
Palak paneer is typically served with rice or flatbreads like naan or roti. Here are a few other dishes that go well with palak paneer:
Jeera rice: Jeera rice is a type of Indian rice dish that is flavored with cumin seeds. It pairs well with the flavors of palak paneer and makes for a simple and delicious side dish.
Aloo gobi: Aloo gobi is a popular Indian dish made with potatoes and cauliflower. It is a great vegetarian option to serve alongside palak paneer.
Tandoori chicken: If you’re not a vegetarian, tandoori chicken is a delicious option to serve with palak paneer. The spicy, savory flavors of the chicken go well with the creamy, flavorful palak paneer.
Raita: Raita is a cooling, yogurt-based condiment that is often served with Indian dishes. It can help to balance out the spiciness of the palak paneer and add an extra layer of flavor to the meal.
Salad: A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing is a refreshing accompaniment to palak paneer. It adds some crunch and contrast to the dish.
Tips to Reduce the Bitterness of Palak Paneer
Here are a few tips to help reduce the bitterness of palak paneer:
- Remove the stems from the spinach before blending it into the puree. The stems of the spinach tend to be more bitter than the leaves, so removing them can help reduce the overall bitterness of the dish.
- Blanch the spinach before blending it into the puree. To blanch spinach, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the spinach for 1-2 minutes. Remove the spinach from the water and immediately rinse it in cold water. This will help to remove some of the bitter compounds from the spinach.
- Add a pinch of sugar to the spinach puree. Sugar helps to balance out the flavors in a dish, so adding a pinch of sugar to the spinach puree can help to reduce the bitterness.
- Use young, tender spinach leaves. Older, more mature spinach leaves tend to be more bitter than younger leaves.
- Adjust the cooking time. If you find that your palak paneer is still bitter after following the above steps, try cooking it for a shorter period of time. This can help to reduce the bitterness, as the flavors will be less concentrated.
Is Palak Paneer Healthy?
Palak paneer can be a healthy dish, as it is high in protein, iron, and other nutrients due to the paneer and spinach. However, it is also relatively high in fat due to the use of ghee or oil and heavy cream. To make palak paneer healthier, you can try using low-fat milk or coconut milk instead of heavy cream, and using less oil or ghee in the recipe.
Here are a few more tips to make your palak paneer healthier:
- Use fresh, organic spinach whenever possible. This will help to ensure that you are getting the most nutrients from your spinach.
- Use low-fat paneer. There are several brands of low-fat paneer available in the market that you can use to make palak paneer.
- Serve the palak paneer with a side of brown rice or quinoa, rather than white rice or naan bread. This will provide a healthier source of carbohydrates and add more nutrients to the meal.
- Add some extra vegetables to the dish. You can try adding diced tomatoes, bell peppers, or other vegetables to the palak paneer for an extra boost of nutrients.
Why Does My Palak Paneer Taste Bitter?
There are a few reasons why your palak paneer may taste bitter:
- The spinach was not properly washed and still had dirt or sand on it. Be sure to wash the spinach thoroughly before blending it into the puree.
- The spinach was over-cooked. Spinach should only be simmered for a short period of time, as longer cooking times can cause the spinach to release bitter compounds.
- The spinach was too mature. Older, more mature spinach leaves tend to be more bitter than younger leaves.
- The dish was not properly seasoned. Sometimes, adding a pinch of sugar or a little bit of cream can help to balance out the flavors and reduce the bitterness of the dish.
If you are still experiencing bitterness after trying these tips, you may want to try using a different type of leafy green in place of the spinach. Mustard greens, for example, are less bitter than spinach and could be a good alternative.
Frequently Asked Questions About Palak Paneer
Can I use frozen spinach instead of fresh spinach?
Yes, you can use frozen spinach in place of fresh spinach. Just be sure to thaw the spinach and squeeze out any excess water before blending it into the puree.
Can I use a different type of cheese in place of paneer?
While paneer is traditional in palak paneer, you can try using a different type of cheese if you prefer. Some options that might work include firm tofu, halloumi, or queso blanco.
Can I make palak paneer vegan?
Yes, it is possible to make palak paneer vegan by using a plant-based cheese or tofu in place of paneer, and substituting a vegan cream or coconut milk for the heavy cream.
Can I make palak paneer gluten-free?
Palak paneer is naturally gluten-free, as it is made with paneer, spinach, and spices. Just be sure to use a gluten-free cream or coconut milk if you are serving it with gluten-free flatbreads.