Palak Paneer, also known as Saag Paneer, is a popular North Indian dish made from fresh spinach leaves and cubes of paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) cooked in a spiced gravy. It’s a blend of leafy greens and creamy paneer, resulting in a vibrant green dish that’s as visually appealing as delicious.
The origins of Palak Paneer can be traced back to North India, particularly the Punjabi region. This dish is an integral part of Punjabi cuisine and was traditionally prepared in Punjabi households. Over time, this spinach gravy has gained immense popularity not just within the Indian subcontinent but also globally. Its rich flavour and versatility have made it a beloved Indian restaurant staple.
Making an easy Palak Paneer recipe at home offers cost-effectiveness, customization, and the joy of cooking. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a novice in the kitchen, this dish is a fantastic way to explore the world of Indian cuisine and savour the delightful flavours of spinach and paneer. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and embark on a culinary adventure to make the best Palak Paneer recipe in your own kitchen.
Difference between Palak Paneer and Saag Paneer
The main difference between Palak Paneer and Saag Paneer is the type of greens used to prepare the dish.
Palak Paneer focuses on spinach, resulting in a milder, greener dish, while Saag Paneer incorporates a mix of greens, offering a more complex and robust flavour.
Palak Paneer is primarily made with spinach (“palak” in Hindi). Fresh spinach leaves are blanched, pureed, and used to create the vibrant green gravy.
Saag Paneer is a broader term and refers to a dish made with various leafy greens, including spinach, mustard greens, and fenugreek leaves (methi). The combination of these greens is used to create the gravy.
Both dishes are delicious and beloved by many, and the choice between them often comes down to personal preference for flavour and spiciness.
Why you will love this easy palak paneer recipe
If you’re a fan of the rich and vibrant flavours of Indian cuisine, there’s a good chance that you’ve savoured the delectable combination of creamy paneer and lush spinach in a velvety gravy known as Palak Paneer. This gravy is one of the most popular Indian recipes in restaurants within and outside India.
This classic vegetarian dish, hailing from North India, is not only a feast for the senses but also a wholesome and nutritious addition to your culinary repertoire. With just a handful of ingredients and straightforward steps, you can create this beloved dish from scratch and impress your family and friends with its irresistible taste.
Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in Indian cooking, this restaurant-style recipe will ensure you can enjoy the delightful fusion of spinach and paneer in no time.
Also, homemade Palak Paneer allows you to tailor the dish to your preferences. You can adjust the level of spiciness and creaminess and even experiment with alternative ingredients like tofu for dietary restrictions.
Palak Paneer is a universally loved dish that caters to diverse tastes. It’s a fantastic addition to family gatherings, potlucks, or special occasions. Even those children who generally stay away from spinach love this dish! If you love Indian food, try this easy and delicious Paneer recipe.
How to make Easy Palak Paneer
Wash and chop the spinach. Set it aside.
Heat ghee or oil in a pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and saute for a minute. Then, add chopped onions and sauté until they change colour. Add chopped green chillies, fresh ginger, and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes until the raw smell disappears.
Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and the oil starts to separate.
Add the chopped spinach leaves and cook for 5 minutes. Switch off and let the mixture cool down to room temperature.
Add the mixture to a mixer jar with cold water and make a fine puree. You can also use an immersion blender to make a smooth paste. Spinach puree is now ready.
In the same pan, add ghee or oil. Once hot, add bay leaf. Saute.
Add salt, turmeric powder, garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder, Kashmiri chilli powder and red chilli powder. Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the pureed spinach and mix well. Add water to achieve your desired consistency. Let it simmer for 5-7 minutes, allowing the flavours to blend well.
If desired, you can add some sugar at this stage. This is mainly to balance the bitter taste of the spinach leaves.
Add heavy cream at this stage. Add the paneer cubes to the simmering gravy and stir gently.
Cook for a few more minutes, and Palak Paneer is ready.
Add crushed Kasuri Methi. Mix well and switch off. Add some lemon juice towards the end, if desired.
Serve the delicious palak paneer recipe hot with roti, naan, or rice.
Tips & Tricks for Perfect Palak Paneer
Use fresh spinach for a vibrant green colour.
Don’t overcook the spinach to preserve its colour and nutrients.
Adjust the spice levels and creaminess to your preference.
You can lightly fry the paneer cubes for a firmer texture before adding them to the gravy.
What to serve Palak Paneer With
Palak Paneer is best enjoyed with Indian bread like roti, butter naan, or paratha. It also pairs wonderfully with steamed rice or jeera rice. A side of pickles or yogurt can complement the dish.
Frequently asked questions
While traditional Palak Paneer contains dairy-based paneer, you can make a vegan version by substituting paneer with tofu. Also, use plant-based cream, like coconut cream, cashew cream or non-dairy milk, instead of dairy cream.
While it is not necessary, blanched spinach can be used in this recipe.
The level of spiciness in Palak Paneer can be adjusted to your preference. The dish typically has a mild to moderate spice level, but you can increase or decrease the number of green chilli or red chilli powder to suit your taste.
While fresh spinach is ideal for the best flavour and colour, you can use frozen spinach as a convenient alternative. Thaw and drain the spinach before using it in the recipe.
Yes, homemade paneer is an excellent choice for Palak Paneer, as it allows you to control the texture and quality of the paneer. Homemade paneer is often softer and creamier than store-bought paneer.
Yes, Palak Paneer is an excellent choice for preparing in advance. You can make it a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator. Reheat it before serving.
Store leftover Palak Paneer in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave. You may need to add water or cream to adjust the consistency.
Any variety of spinach, like baby spinach or mustard greens, coriander leaves, fenugreek leaves, etc, can be added.
Other recipes you may like
Easy Palak Paneer Recipe | Restaurant Style Recipe
- 400 grams Spinach leaves washed and chopped
- 300 grams Paneer
- 1 tbsp Ghee / Oil
- 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 large Onion
- 1 inch Ginger
- 6 cloves Garlic
- 2 Green Chillies
- 1 large Tomato
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Salt as needed
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
- 1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
- 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- 3/4 cup Water or as needed
- 1/2 tsp Sugar
- 2 tbsp Fresh Cream
- 2 tsp Kasuri Methi
- Lemon Juice as needed
- Wash and chop the spinach. Set it aside.
- Heat ghee or oil in a pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and saute for a minute. Then, add chopped onions and sauté until they turn translucent. Add chopped green chillies, fresh ginger, and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes until the raw smell disappears.
- Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and the oil starts to separate.
- Add the chopped spinach leaves and cook for 5 minutes. Switch off and let the mixture cool down to room temperature.
- Add the mixture to a mixer jar with cold water and make a fine puree. You can also use an immersion blender to make a smooth paste. Spinach puree is now ready.
- In the same pan, add ghee or oil again. Once hot, add bay leaf. Saute.
- Add salt, turmeric powder, garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder, Kashmiri chilli powder and red chilli powder. Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the pureed spinach and mix well. Add water to achieve your desired consistency. Let it simmer for 5-7 minutes, allowing the flavours to blend well.
- Add sugar if desired. Sugar is added to balance the taste and remove the slight bitterness from spinach.
- Add heavy cream at this stage. Add the paneer cubes to the simmering gravy and stir gently.
- Cook for 5 more minutes, and Palak Paneer is ready.
- Add crushed Kasuri Methi. Mix well and switch off. Add some lemon juice towards the end, if desired.
- Serve the delicious palak paneer recipe hot with roti, naan, or rice.