Friday, January 18, 2013

Palak Paneer | Cottage Cheese in Spinach gravy | Ready in 20 mins!

We all know about the goodness of greens and fresh vegetables. But nevertheless, even to this day many of us run away from green veggies when given a choice of something yummier and tastier! :P Well, let me tell you... healthy food can also be tasty food!! :) Spinach when rightly paired with other delicious ingredients results in becoming one of the most flavourful dishes you can find out there.

And when you pair Spinach with one of the all time favourite ingredient, how can you really go wrong? Cottage cheese or Paneer and Spinach, otherwise called Palak Paneer has been loved by many a paneer lover, not for no reason! This delicious combination transforms the bland tasting spinach into a perfectly spiced gravy with succulent paneer pieces happily dipped in it! Oh my....

There are several ways in which you can dish this out, but as always, I prefer the simplest, healthiest yet one which does not compromise on the yum-factor :) So here is my version of Palak Paneer, which uses fresh paneer and not deep-fried, and uses poppy seeds for a yummy thick gravy.. so who needs fattening cream?!! bye bye fresh cream... now, isn't that great?! :)

Here are some of my previous experiments with Spinach which have been delightfully accepted by people who are otherwise not-to-fond of spinach as such :)

Paneer/Cottage Cheese - 200 gms
Red Chillies - 2
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Kasuri Methi/Fenugreek Leaves - 1 tbsp
Oil - as needed
Salt - to taste

For gravy:

Spinach - 1 big bunch
Onion - 1 big
Tomato - 1 big
Ginger-garlic paste - 1.5 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Poppy Seeds - 2 tsp
Fennel Seeds/Saunf - 1 tsp


  • Chop the onion and tomato into cubes.
  • Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan and add in the chopped onion. Saute until the onions turn slightly brown and then add tomato, ginger-garlic paste and a pinch of salt. Saute for a couple of minutes.
  • Take off the stove and allow to cool. (Keep aside the pan, you would need it later!)
  • Meanwhile, roughly chop the spinach leaves and microwave it for a a minute and a half.
  • In a blender, blend together the onion-tomato mixture, spinach, coriander powder, poppy seeds, saunf seeds and a little water to get a thick gravy. (Do not add in too much water. Add in just enough to get a thick gravy. Adding in little by little is suggested).

  • In the previously used pan, heat another tbsp of oil and sprinkle in cumin seeds and red chillies.
  • Once they splatter, pour in the spinach gravy and stir well. (Here, before you add in the spinach gravy, you could add in a little bit of finely chopped onions to the oil and allow it to get caramelized. This would give in some additional texture to the gravy, if you like that)
  • Add red chilli powder, cumin powder, garam masala, kasoori methi and salt. Mix well and allow to cook for a while on medium flame.
  • Meanwhile, cube the paneer/cottage cheese and put them in a bowl of water. Microwave the bowl for 30 seconds. (this makes the paneer soft).
  • Drain out the water and toss in the paneer cubes into the gravy. I added them fresh, as is. If you prefer to fry them, you can. Stir gently and garnish with a few kasoori methi leaves.
  • Serve it with rotis or rice :)

  • In Palak Paneer, the Paneer is best added in as is, instead of fried. It is succulent, soft and healthy this way. However, if you do not prefer it raw, you can pan-fry them too. Deep frying can be avoided.
  • Microwaving the spinach instead of blanching it helps retain the vibrant green colour of spinach. 
  • In case you have added in too much water to your gravy, do not worry, just simmer the gravy on low for a longer time before adding in the paneer cubes.
  • Add paneer into the gravy only once the gravy is cooked and when there is not much stirring required. Too much stirring after adding in the paneer will break them.
  • This is a very simple mild version of Palak Paneer. If you like you can add in fresh cream to the gravy to make it richer and thicker. But even without the addition of fresh cream, the gravy tasted great! :)


  1. i love palak paneer and this looks so good Nans :) love the vibrant green

  2. nans i also use paneer in any paneer dish as it is without frying or even shallow frying

    i m imprssed by use of poppy seeds here

    next time i wud try ur version of palak paneer or for that matter any palak dish

    just one ques
    u wrote roughly chop palak leaves and microwave it
    so did u blanch them or just like that u put in oven and u put it on high temp or minimum

    curiosity as me thinks that got the green color good

    1. Yes Meena, I just roughly chopped the palak leaves and without any water, kept in my microwave for a minute and a half. I do not have a temperature setting for microwave, incase you do, I would suggest keeping it on minimum and check it at the end of a minute and a half, if it still seems raw, keep it for another minute or so accordingly.

      Do try using poppy seeds, the texture of the gravy is truly delicious :)

      I am guessing it is because of no blanching the palak, the green colour is vibrant :) Thanks for that point, will add it in the tips :)

  3. so inviting clicks..looks very yummy

  4. i loved the bowl :) its compliment to the keerai !

  5. At home we like our paneer non fried too. It tastes more softer and yummier. Love the way you have microwaved spinach , will try that. Great recipe

  6. I too make similarly. nice color it has got :)

  7. wow lovely recipe.adding poppy seeds is new.

    1. Yes Princy, new to me too... i usually add it to Veg Kurma and it comes out great, so gave a try here too... try it out :)

  8. loved this specially for the color. without the use of sugar, you are able to retain the green color, lovely. just gorgeous

    1. Thanks Swathi :) Oh yes, microwaving the spinach keeps them green. btw, I did not know adding sugar, helps retain colour.

  9. Delicious love your version of palak paneer.