Palak Paneer (Spinach and Cheese) was my first preference when visiting a Punjabi dhaba (Restaurant). I am always in search of good dhaba’s to explore the amazing food they offer which is any day preferred over fancy restaurant’s food. In a typical dhaba, food is usually served in steel plates and thali includes mouth watering collection of food served with raw onions and green whole chilli (which I never dared to chew on)!
This North Indian dish is rich in protein, iron and has an unbeatable flavor when eaten with fresh naan or roti. It looks so tempting with its creamy spinach green contrasting with pure white paneer.
Paneer is made by adding lemon juice in hot milk. While milk is boiling, add lemon juice to it and wait until the curd separates from whey. Curd is then drained and excessive water is squeezed out of it, the resulting product is Paneer. To make your life much simple, you can go to any Indian grocery store and buy ready-made paneer.
Ingredients (Serves 3-4)
- Spinach(palak) –1 big bunch or big packet
- Paneer–200 grams
- Onions–2 (chopped into big pieces)
- Tomato–1 (big)
- Ginger-Garlic paste–1/2 tablespoon
- Green chillies–5-6
- Sour Cream–1 big spoon
- Cloves–3-4 (powder)
- Cumin (Jeera) powder–1 teaspoon
- Oil-1/4 cup
Paneer–If you are using frozen paneer take it out and keep at room temperature for 3-4 hours prior to cooking or you can defrost it.Take oil in a medium sized thick tawa (flat pan) and put very little oil in it. Add the paneer cubes and fry till they are golden brown. Sprinkle some salt on it and put it aside.
Gravy– Steam the spinach (palak) in a steamer or pan about 5-6 minutes. To steam in a pan cut the palak and add a spoon of water and cover it for 5-6 minutes. Take the spinach, Onions, tomatoes, ginger- garlic, chillies and make a fine paste in a blender.
Take a non-stick pan and pour oil in it and heat on medium heat. Add jeera powder, cloves,turmeric and saute for few seconds. Now add the puree paste keep stirring it as it tends to flutter around. Partially cover the pan for about 7-8minutes occasionally stirring it. Add some water if the gravy is too thick. Add salt and a pinch of sugar. Add the sour cream,mix gently and add the paneer. Cook for 5-6 minutes before taking it off the stove. Serve with roti or chapati.
Note–You can roast the whole paneer by just putting the paneer slab on tava and roasting it on both sides till golden brown. Cut into small pieces when cool.