One of the most interesting thing about Indian cooking is the variety of leafy vegetables (saag/saak) that we have on daily basis. On top of that, each saag is cooked in different ways in different parts of India. If you have had spinach only in salads – the saag saga will be a journey for you – where I will share recipes of many leafy vegetables/saag and none of them will be salad!!
Here, in this channel I mostly talk about Bengali foods and bengali recipes… Palak paneer is quite different with respect to preparation in comparison to how Bengalis eat saag at home. Back in 2020 when we all were confined in home due to country wide lockdown for covid- I started missing the different cuisines from North and South (India) that I used to have before.
Palak paneer is available in most Indian restaurants but who would risk ordering from take outs at such uncertain times? Dine-in places were closed at that time. Finally mom came to my rescue and headed over to YouTube to learn the recipe!
After trying many recipes with slight differences, she came up with the quantities that made the perfect Palak Paneer which tastes just like that of restaurant but is less heavy on your stomach.
Things you need
- 500 g Spinach/Palak/Palang Saag
- 200 g Cottage Cheese/Paneer
- 1 finely chopped tomato
- 1″ ginger
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 finely chopped small onion
- 2-3 cardamom pods, 4 cloves, 2-3 small sticks of cardamom
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp kasuri methi
- 2 green chilies
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp oil
- 100 g heavy cream
- Ice cold water
- Wash the spinach thoroughly and dip them into boiling water for 2 mins.
- Take them out of the hot water and immediately dip them into ice cold water. This helps spinach to preserve the bright green color through cooking.
- Make a fine paste of the spinach, garlic cloves, ginger, green chilies. This shouldn’t be runny or thin. (I have never seen to make purée of saag in Bengali cooking. This is what I was talking about!)
- Finely chop the onion and tomatoes.
- Cut the paneer into small blocks.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter in a pan. Oil is added to the butter to prevent it from burning.
- Toss the cubes of cottage cheese/paneer into the pan and fry them lightly and set aside.
- Temper oil with whole spices and then fry the onions until golden brown. Add the chopped tomatoes and kasuri methi let it cook.
- When the rawness is gone, add the spinach paste to the cooked onion/tomatoes with spice.
- Sprinkle the powdered spice like cumin powder, chili powder, garam masala, kasuri methi powder, salt, sugar on top and add 1/2 half cup of water as well.
- After cooking it for 3-4 mins, add the paneer cubes in and cook for 2-3 mins more.
- Palak paneer is ready. Transfer it into a bowl and then garnish it with heavy cream.
Enjoy Palak Paneer with rice, roti or naan. The heavy cream for the garnish is lot more than for making it pretty, it also makes the dish taste milder and creamier, so I would recommend you to not skip the cream!
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