Palak Paneer Recipe | How to Make Restaurant Style Palak Paneer

palak paneer recipe indian vegetarian lunch recipe

Be it a North Indian wedding or a casual dinner at home with friends and family, the palak paneer recipe (पालक पनीर) is one of the hot favorites among the vegetarians. It’s the singled out Indian spinach recipe that even kids can’t resist. It has two very nutrition-rich ingredients; the palak or the spinach and paneer, the Indian cottage cheese. Palak paneer can turn out to be a well-balanced dish in terms of nutrition as against the notion of being unhealthy if you make it the right way. This palak paneer recipe, which I got from my Mom, is a restaurant style version minus the excessively used unhealthy ingredients. Let me tell you how this recipe stands out.

A Healthy Palak Paneer Recipe

Usually, the restaurants use tons of cashew paste trying to impart richness to the dish. Not to mention the addition of colossal amounts of cream and desi ghee or clarified butter. The dish loses its essence. You would not be able to taste the spinach at all. It’s just fats and more fats. The key to making a healthy palak paneer recipe is cutting back on those unnecessary, flamboyant ingredients without compromising on the taste. For starters, I have used oil in this palak paneer recipe instead of desi ghee or clarified butter, which is very high in saturated fats. A couple of tablespoons of fresh cream are just enough to lend creaminess to the spinach curry. Fresh cream is optional. You can skip it and the palak paneer would still taste fabulous. There are no cashews so that’s another cut back on calories.

Appearances vs. Taste

I know a lot of people would like their palak paneer to look bright and fresh. To achieve the vibrant green color, many cooks do not blanch the spinach sufficiently. The spinach doesn’t soften and you do not get a velvety smooth puree upon grinding it. Also, sautéing the puree with the spices is important. Otherwise, you will have a vibrant looking dish that has the raw smelling spinach and unblended flavors. That’s absolutely unpalatable. Take my word; when it comes to palak paneer, go for the taste and not for the looks. The curry would seem darker but that’s a sign of it being properly cooked. It would appeal to your taste-buds insistently.

I always use homemade paneer. I believe it to be fresher and tastier than the store-bought ones. Click on the link to see how to make paneer at home from scratch.

I have some more recipes that use paneer as their primary or even secondary ingredient. Here are the links that you would want to check out.

We love to have a Punjabi fare at our weddings and dinner parties. Here are some Punjabi vegetarian recipes that are the best versions of themselves in my opinion. Most of them are heirloom recipes passed onto be by Mom who got her from her mom.

Let’s see how to make Palak Paneer, the lovely and easy Indian vegetarian side dish. If on a weekend you are looking forward to cook a sumptuous side dish for rotis or rice, the palak paneer recipe is a delicious choice.

How to Make Palak Paneer

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Palak Paneer Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Palak Paneer, a classic vegetarian side dish has its roots in the North Indian cuisine. The rich, exquisite spinach and Indian cottage cheese curry goes exceptionally well with jeera rice and naan.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: North Indian
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
To Blanch the Spinach
  • Palak/Spinach – 1 large bunch, picked and rinsed
  • Water – a potful
Other Ingredients
  • Paneer/ Indian cottage cheese – 250 grams
  • Onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Tomato – 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Green chilies – 2, finely chopped
  • Garlic – 10 cloves, finely crushed
  • Ginger – 1-inch piece, finely crushed
  • Red chili powder – ½ tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
  • Roasted cumin powder – ¼ tsp
  • Garam masala – ¾ tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Bay leaves – 2
  • Cloves – 4
  • Black peppercorns – 6
  • Cinnamon – a 2-inch piece
  • Ghee/Oil – 3 tbsp
  • Homemade cream – 2 tbsp (the one formed on top of the boiled milk)
  • Water – ¾ cup
Instructions
  1. Add spinach to a potful of water and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for 6-7 minutes till it wilts completely.
  2. Strain the spinach and rinse it with cold water. Transfer it to the blender jar.
  3. Blend the spinach to a smooth puree.
  4. Dice the paneer to your desired shape and size.
  5. Heat the ghee or oil in a skillet. Toss in the whole spices; cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves, and black peppercorns.
  6. Add the onion and sauté till it begins to turn brown.
  7. Now add the green chilies, finely crushed ginger, and finely crushed garlic. Sauté till the raw smell of ginger and garlic is gone.
  8. Add the tomato and some salt. Cook till the tomatoes are mushy.
  9. When the oil begins to separates, add the powdered spices; red chili, turmeric, roasted cumin, and garam masala. Sauté for a few seconds.
  10. Pour in the pureed spinach and sauté for 5-7 minutes so that it absorbs the flavors of the spices.
  11. Stir in some water. Bring the curry to a boil and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Adjust the salt.
  12. When the curry has thickened, add the diced paneer and continue to cook for another minute.
  13. Switch off the flame and stir in some cream.
  14. Palak paneer is ready.
  15. Serve hot with rotis or naan. It tastes spectacular over the bed of steaming hot rice, preferably jeera rice.

Restaurant Style Palak Paneer Recipe with Step by Step Pictures Below


Step 1

Prepare the palak paneer ingredients. Finely chop 1 medium onion, 1 medium tomato, and 2 green chilies. Finely crush 10 cloves of garlic and 1-inch piece of ginger. Lay out the whole spices; a 2-inch piece of cinnamon, 2 bay leaves, 4 cloves, and 6 black peppercorns. You will also need salt to taste, 2 tbsp fresh cream, and ground spices; ¼ tsp turmeric, ¼ tsp roasted cumin, ½ tsp red chili, ¾ tsp garam masala.

preparation of palak paneer ingredients


Step 2

Pick and rinse a large bunch of spinach. Add the spinach to a potful of water and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for 6-7 minutes till it wilts completely.

blanching the spinach for making palak paneer


Step 3

Strain the spinach and rinse it with cold water. Transfer it to the blender jar.

blached spinach strained and ready to be pureed for palak paneer recipe


Step 4

Blend the spinach to a smooth puree.

spinach pureed for palak paneer recipe


Step 5

Dice 250 grams of paneer to the desired shape and size.

homemade paneer for palak paneer indian vegetarian curry


Step 6

Heat 3 tbsp ghee or oil in a skillet. Toss in the whole spices; cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves, and black peppercorns. Sauté for a few seconds.

sauteing the whole spices in hot oil


Step 7

Add the onion and sauté till it begins to turn brown.

sauteing chopped onions for vegetarian dish for lunch


Step 8

Now add the green chilies, finely crushed ginger, and finely crushed garlic. Sauté till the raw smell of ginger and garlic is gone.

sauteing ginger, garlic, and green chilies for palak paneer vegetarian dishes


Step 9

Add the tomato and some salt. Cook till the tomatoes are mushy.

sauteing tomatoes for spinach curry vegetarian side dish


Step 10

When the oil begins to separates, add the powdered spices; red chili, turmeric, roasted cumin, and garam masala. Sauté for a few seconds.

seasoning the onion and tomatoes with Indian spices


Step 11

Pour in the pureed spinach.

adding blanched and pureed spinach to the masala


Step 12

Sauté for 5-7 minutes so that it absorbs the flavors of the spices.

sauteing the blanched spinach with the masala


Step 13

Stir in ¾ cup of water. Bring the curry to a boil and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Adjust the salt.

adding water to the vegetarian curry to adjust the consistancy


Step 14

When the curry has thickened, add the diced paneer and continue to cook for another minute.

adding homemade paneer to the spinach curry


Step 15

Switch off the flame and stir in some cream.

adding cream to the palak paneer vegetarian curry


Step 16

Palak paneer is ready.

palak paneer recipe vegetarian main dish is ready


Step 17

Serve hot with rotis or naan. It tastes spectacular over the bed of steaming hot rice, preferably jeera rice.

palak paneer indian vegetarian dinner recipe served with rice

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Kshitija Pradhan
    July 21, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    I would say your palak paneer looks both beautiful and delicious. My lunch for tomorrow is sorted. 🙂

    • Reply
      Monica
      July 27, 2017 at 7:49 pm

      How nice of you to say that. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Anupa
    August 8, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    one of my favorites… gotta try this one.. thanks for sharing such a fab recipe..

    • Reply
      Monica
      August 9, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Thank you, Anupa. Do let me know how you like it. 🙂

  • Reply
    dhanashree chauhan
    September 5, 2017 at 8:16 am

    thanks for the authentic recipe

  • Reply
    Shalu
    September 17, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Do you cook the paneer?

  • Reply
    Ranjana harish
    September 24, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Perfect palak paneer… Absolutely inviting.

  • Reply
    gurinder
    November 25, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    monica, this is not restaurant style its ” WAY BETTER than restaurant style” mooh me paani aagaya!

    • Reply
      Monica
      November 28, 2017 at 8:32 am

      Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Sarika Gehlot
    January 13, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    paneer palak looks beautiful..tasty..and i totally agree with your point that cooking palak might cause the color to darken but it improves the taste..

  • Reply
    Asha Jha
    January 18, 2018 at 6:19 am

    nice recipe..but i have a question..how was palak paneer made in the days when there were no mixer-grinders?

    • Reply
      अंजली दुबे
      January 18, 2018 at 9:00 am

      कुटके बनाते होंगे शयाद?

      • Reply
        Asha jha
        January 19, 2018 at 4:16 am

        Anjali ji, no koot ke nahi banate the, there must be some other method.

        • Reply
          अंजली दुबे
          January 19, 2018 at 4:58 am

          Monica ji ab aap hi batao mixer se pehle palak paneer kaise banate the?

          • Monica
            January 20, 2018 at 8:06 am

            I think in olden times they slow-cooked the spinach for several hours. That would make the spinach gravy soft and pureed..as good as if it were pureed in the mixer

  • Reply
    hetal shah
    May 23, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    simple to follow and tastes delicious. highly recommended recipe. i made it for kitty party lunch and my gal pals loved it. also made your lehsooni dal takda. fingerlicking good it was. thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Monica
      May 24, 2018 at 6:57 am

      Hello Hetal. Thank you so much. I am really glad you and your friends enjoyed the palak paneer and dal tadka. 🙂

  • Reply
    Shikha mistry
    July 26, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Awesome super yummy

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