Palak Paneer (Spinach + Cheese)
My neice Prerna Dubey always talks about Paneer as her all time favorite food. When Prerna was a kid, her mom would try to get her to smile for the camera. The only attempt that would work is if her mom asks her “tell me your favorite food?” Then Prerna would give a big smile and say PANEER! The pictures turned out beautiful.
Palak paneer is a favorite of children and adults alike – a good source of protein and iron! My mom also prepared palak paneer often for all her active kids. This recipe is for all you paneer lovers.
Party quantity (for ~ 30 with other items)
- 2.5 lb ( 1.1 kg) spinach – microwave uncovered (to retain it’s green color) for 4 min in 3 batches and blend finely or coarsely as desired
- 30 oz (800 g) paneer – rectangular or cube cut (1″) – lightly brush skillet with oil and sear on both sides on medium low heat
- 1/4 to 1 cup cream or 2 tbsp sour cream – if richness is desired (I used 2 tbsp of low fat Greek yogurt/strained yogurt)
- 1 1/2 large tomato or 4 Roma tomatoes or use 1 can cut tomatoes (14 oz) – chop
- 1 3/4 large white onion – chop
- ~ 1/2 cup water to help blend mixture (eye ball it)
- 1 jalapeno, 2 Thai green chile, 2″ ginger piece, 4 garlic cloves and 1/2″ fresh turmeric piece, 1/4 bunch cilantro – chop and food process
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter or ghee
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 2 1/4 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp red chile powder or to taste
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp allspice powder (optional)
- 1 tbsp broken cashews
- ~ 3 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) or 1/4 bunch of fresh fenugreek leaves or a little of both – make powder by rubbing between the palms of your hands
- Temper cumin in oil and butter – reduce heat add onions, ~1/3 tbsp of salt and fresh blend until translucent.
- Add the rest of the seasoning list and saute for few min.
- Then add tomatoes and cook until soft. Mix in the yogurt and add half of the blended spinach for few min.
- Turn off heat and cool it to blend.
- Mix the rest of the blended spinach with the seasoned spinach – bring it to simmer on medium low. Add paneer and cook for few minutes more.
- Lastly taste and adjust salt, etc.
- Serve hot with rice, naan, pita or your favorite flat bread.
***Palak /Spinach can be used as a dip by adding sour cream or any soft cheese shown on the right for paneer, pita, bread, veggies, etc.