Palak paneer or Cottage cheese in spinach gravy

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Palak or spinach gravy with paneer is a popular Indian dish. It is vegetarian and loved by all in the subcontinent. There are numerous versions of this dish with cottage cheese, chicken, and even potatoes or chickpeas. However, growing up on the cottage cheese version, I am kind of partial to it.

This recipe is my version, or rather my mum’s version of Palak paneer. The tempering makes the difference, and rest everything is almost the same. 

I use panch phoron, garlic, dried red chilies, and green chilies with mustard oil. You can choose refined oil or clarified butter too.  Panch phoron is a mixture of cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, sesame seeds, and fenugreek seeds in equal proportions. We use it to temper daal, making it so much better. 

Once the prep is done, it takes a few minutes to prepare the dish. The chunks of cottage cheese can be added as such or can be fried to a light crispy golden colour. Most recipes add cream at the end, but I avoided it altogether. 

We usually make it during winters when spinach is in abundance. Mustard oil adds zing, and we loved it. I hope you give it a try.

Photo of palak paneer

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Makes: 2-3

Ingredients

  • Spinach 2 bunch
  • Indian cottage cheese 200 gms (cut into cubes)
  • Onion 1 (thinly sliced)
  • Garlic 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • Dried red chilies 3
  • Green chilies 2
  • Mustard oil 2-3 tbsp
  • Canola oil 2 tbsp
  • Cumin powder ⅓ tsp
  • Coriander powder ⅓ tsp
  • Tomato puree 1 tbsp
  • Panch phoron (Cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, sesame seeds, and fenugreek seeds) ½ tsp
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Blanch the spinach leaves and keep them aside. Once cooled, squeeze out as much water as possible and blend to a fine puree. Heat canola oil in a pan and add half of the garlic.
  2. Once fragrant, add the onion. When the onions are translucent, add the puree along with a bit of water. Mix in the cumin, coriander powder, and tomato puree.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and turn off the heat. Pour into a serving dish and add the cottage cheese cubes. 
  4. In another small pan, heat the mustard oil and add the panch phoron. When the mustard seeds start to crackle, add the red chilies, garlic, and green chilies.
  5. Quickly pour the contents over the palak paneer and serve with rice or bread.

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