Looking for easy to make yet delicious restaurant style palak paneer recipe? I bet your search ends here. This is the BEST Punjabi palak paneer recipe I have ever made.
What is palak paneer?
Palak paneer is a popular dish from North India (Punjab). Here soft paneer (Indian cottage cheese) cubes are simmered into smooth, creamy, medium spicy, vibrant green spinach gravy.
This tastes exactly restaurant style Palak paneer. If you are one of them who thinks that any spinach dish is bland and tasteless, then I bet you haven’t tried this recipe. Try it once, I am sure you will love it.
How to keep palak paneer gravy green?
- To keep the green color intact, spinach must be blanched using the RIGHT method. Please follow the exact time and method shown below.
- Do not add any spice powders like turmeric, red chili powder. Those can alter the green color.
- Do not simmer the gravy for a longer period of time, especially once the blanched, pureed spinach is added.
- Do not add more tomatoes than the mentioned amount.
- Do not brown the onion paste. Just saute for a couple of minutes only.
Key ingredients of Punjabi palak paneer:
- Paneer: you can use store bought one or homemade paneer. Here in the USA, I have good experience with Nanak malai paneer which is easily available in Indian grocery stores. I have also tried Verka brand from Costco and Brar paneer while I was in Canada. Both were good in quality.
- Palak (Spinach): It is hard to find Indian style desi spinach leaves here in USA. So I mostly use the baby spinach. If you are using desi palak then do not use the stalk (stems, dandiya) which makes the gravy bitter and tastes metallic.
- Green chilies: This is the only ingredient which provides the spicy taste and heat to the dish. So use accordingly. if you like spicy add more. If you want a mild dish then use less number of chilies.
- Cashew nuts: It provides the rich and creamy flavor to the gravy.
- Heavy whipping cream: Traditionally the malai is used. But the whipping cream is the closest one. This gives the smooth and creamy texture the gravy.
How to blanch the spinach for palak paneer?
- Bring 5 cups of water to a rolling boil.
- Add a pinch of salt and spinach leaves. Cook for exactly 4 minutes.
- Then with the help of colander, drain the water and put the leaves into ice-cold water. Alternately you can rinse under running cold water.
- Grind into a smooth paste and keep it aside.
How to make Palak Paneer Recipe (Restaurant style)
- Take sliced onions, green chili, cashew nuts and 1 cup of water in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer.
- Let it cook for 15 minutes or till the onions get translucent and soft. During this cooking process, almost 80% of the water will evaporate.
- Let it cool down and then grind into a smooth paste.
- Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot add ginger paste and garlic paste. Saute for 30 seconds or till the raw smell of ginger garlic goes away.
- Then add tomatoes and cook till soft and mushy. Using the back of the spatula mash the tomatoes.
- Now add onion paste and cook for 2 minutes only. Do not brown the paste.
- Now mix in spinach paste.
- Add black salt, crushed kasoori methi, garam masala, and salt. Mix, add water to make it gravy consistency and bring it to a simmer.
- Now mix in paneer cubes and simmer for 2-3 minutes or till the paneer cubes get heated through.
- Add heavy whipping cream or malai.
- Stir it and restaurant style palak paneer is ready to serve.
What to serve with palak paneer?
Can I freeze the palak paneer?
Yes, you can freeze the palak paneer in individual serving in an airtight container for up to 2-3 months. Just thaw on the counter or in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave. Personally, I like to freeze the gravy only in silicon cupcake molds. So using this spinach gravy I can make many other curries. E.g. add boiled potatoes for aloo palak, boiled chickpeas for palak chole. You can add sauteed mushroom or mixed vegetables too.
How to make palak paneer in Instant pot?
I have already shared the instant pot palak paneer recipe. Check it out, it is quick and very easy to make.
How to make vegan palak paneer?
To make it vegan substitute the paneer with extra firm tofu. Skip the addition of cream. And increase the amount of cashews by ½ cup, so it compensates the creaminess of cream.
Punjabi Palak Paneer Recipe (Restaurant style)
For onion paste:
- 1 medium or 1 cup Red onion sliced
- ¼ cup Cashew nuts
- 5 Green chilies If you like spicier add more
- 1 cup Water
For spinach paste:
- 1 medium Bunch or 6 cups Spinach (palak)
- about 5 cups Water
Ingredients for palak paneer recipe:
- 7 oz or 200 grams Paneer cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1 teaspoon Ginger paste or freshly grated or crushed
- 1 teaspoon Garlic paste or freshly grated
- ¼ cup Tomato finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon Black salt (Kala namak)
- 1 teaspoon Kasoori methi (Dried fenugreek leaves)
- 1 teaspoon Garam masala
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons Heavy whipping cream or fresh cream or malai
Making onion paste and spinach paste:
- Take all the ingredients mentioned under onion paste in a pan and bring it to a simmer.
- Cook for 15 minutes or until onions gets soft. Let it cool a bit.
- Meanwhile, blanch the spinach. For that add spinach leaves into boiling water. and cook for exactly 4 minutes. Immediately remove and put the leaves into ice cold water or rinse under running cold water.
- Now onions mixture is cooled, grind into a smooth gravy, remove it to a bowl.
- then in the same grinder puree the spinach without adding any water. Keep both aside.
Making Punjabi Palak Paneer Recipe:
- Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot saute ginger paste, garlic paste for 30 seconds.
- Cook the tomatoes in for 2 minutes. Using back of spatula mash the tomatoes little bit.
- Add onion paste, cook for 2 minutes.
- Mix in spinach puree. Let it come to a simmer.
- Add black salt, dried fenugreek leaves, garam masala, and salt. Mix well.
- Add paneer cubes and mix gently. Simmer it for 2 minutes.
- Lastly, add cream. Stir it well and it is ready to serve.