A very simple and authentic punjabi recipe prepared in almost every household of north india. The dish has nice green colour and is made with the minimum spices and yet rich in flavor. As a child this use to be my favorite dish made by my mother. She used to make it with lots of garlic and i simply use to love it. And still i remember the taste and want to eat it again and again. But i am showing u the other style of palak paneer. It has garlic, onions, and rich with some cashews and melon seeds. Winter is the best time to relish this lip smacking recipe. It can be served with Plain or butter wheat roti, Makai roti, Missi roti. My mother use to serve jeera rice with the gravy. And if we have garlic chutney, sliced onions and some roasted papad then wow it is heaven.
I have not used any butter, cream, milk or yoghurt to it and tried to make this recipe of less calorie and yet with the use of cashews and melon seeds and the process of boiling onions and making paste of it have made it creamy. So enjoy piping hot palak paneer guilt free this winter.
- 250 gm spinach leaves (remove stem, clean and wash)
- 200 gm fresh cottage cheese (paneer cubes)
- 6 onion (medium size, one onion finely chopped and rest cut into big pieces)
- 1 tomato (medium size, pureed)
- 10 nos cahewnuts
- 2 tbsp melon seeds (magajtari)
- 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 5 cloves garlic (i have used green garlic cloves also as they are available during winters. It is optional)
- 1 whole dry red chilli
- 1 tsp shahi jeera
- 1 tbsp green chilli paste
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp kitchen king masala
- 2 stick cinnamon
- 2 bay leaf
- salt as per taste
- 4 tbsp oil
- Boil water in a large pan. Add salt and a pinch of turmeric to it and then add the spinach leaves and let it blanch for 2-3 mins. Then take spinach out of water and drain on the seive. Pour cold water on it. This will stop the heating process and hence will prevent spinach from getting black. It will help retaining its green colour. Keep aside and let it cool.
- Now take another pan and add the big chopped onions, cashewnuts, melon seeds and garlic cloves.
- Add one cup water to it. Boil them till the onions become soft and water is dried. Let it cool .
- Now make paste of the spinach and the onion mixture seperately.Puree one tomato. keep aside.
- Heat oil in a wok. Add the shahi jeera. When it crackles add the green chilli paste ( i have used here whole green chilli) and the whole spices (cinnamon, bay leaf, cloves and red chilli)
- Add chopped onions to it and saute till golden.
- Add ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw aroma is gone.
- Add tomato puree and saute till the oil seperates.
- Add onion and cashew paste to it and mix well and saute it for 3-4 mins.
- Add kitchen king and garam masala and mix well.
- Add spinach puree to it and mix well.
- Add cottage cheese cubes to it and salt as per taste. Add half a cup of water and simmer for one min. Your palak paneer is ready to serve. (This process of adding spinach puree can be done while serving the dish and it will have this nice green color.)
- Garnish with grated paneer.
- Serve it with rotis/kulchas/parathas/naan or simple jeera rice and with onions and pickles etc.
- Remove spinach within 3-4 min after putting it in boiling water for blanching.
- Immediately drain hot water and run cold water over spinach. This will stop the cooking process further and hence will help in retaining green color of the spinach.
While blanching spinach (or any green leafy vegetable) add pinch of salt and turmeric. As turmeric has septic property and hence will take care if there is still some impurity after washing green leafy vegetables.
- Add always spinach puree last or if possible while serving. Just cook it for 2-3 mins as it is already cooked while blanching. This will make sure that if has nice green color.
- You can fry cottage cheese and add if not calorie conscious.
- For vegan version just add tofu instead of paneer.
- If you want "aloo palak" then just add boiled and diced potatoes instead of cottage cheese.
- Do not add lots of garam masalas or brown masala or red chilli as they will make the green spinach color brownish and you will not get nice green color.Add only green masalas to it.