Palak paneer is a true Indian classic. Spinach and paneer are the ingredients that give this dish its distinctive name and flavour. You can easily make the paneer yourself using whole milk, white wine vinegar, and salt. Plus, a portion of patience. No patience? Then buy paneer instead and prepare the dish in a flash! Below, you’ll see how to make this vegetarian palak paneer.
90 minutes (including paneer making), 30 minutes (with purchased paneer)
For the paneer:
- Put the milk in a saucepan and slowly bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Add the white wine vinegar and keep stirring, you will see the whey separating from the white cheese. When the whey and cheese are completely separated (the liquid then becomes more transparent), remove the pan from the heat. Add the salt and stir for another minute.
- Place the cheesecloth in the sieve and place the sieve over a bowl. Pour in the contents of the pan. The whey sinks through the cheesecloth and the sieve, leaving the white cheese (paneer) behind. Let cool and, using your hands, squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the paneer. Then make a thin slice of it and place between the cheesecloth before laying it out on a cutting board. Put a second cutting board on top and place something heavy on it. Leave like this for an hour so that all the moisture is pressed out of the paneer.
For the palak paneer:
- Cut the paneer into cubes. Chop the onion and finely chop or crush the garlic. Dice the tomatoes.
- Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package.
- Heat oil or butter in a large frying pan, or skillet, and brown the paneer on both sides. Remove from the pan.
- Add some more oil or butter to the pan and sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Then add the ginger powder and garam masala and fry for 1 minute. Next add the spinach, handful by handful, and let it shrink.
- Remove the pan from the heat and use a hand blender to blend the spinach. Make sure you have a relatively coarse consistency.
- Return the pan to the heat and add the diced tomatoes, cumin seeds, chilli flakes, and yogurt. Stir through and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve this vegetarian palak paneer with the rice and paneer cubes. Garnish the plates with dried chilli flakes and cumin seeds if desired.
- Delicious with naan