Indian Creamy Spinach with Cheese (Palak Paneer)
Because it doesn’t melt and its texture is chewy, paneer is a perfect substitute for meat in a lot of Indian dishes. (Vegan or vegetarian dishes abound in India for both economic and religious reasons.) Paneer’s mild flavor blends well with all kinds of vegetable-based sauces. Palak Paneer—the classic creamy Indian spinach dish studded with cubes of the cheese—is just one example of how paneer can transform a dish into a meal, instantly.
- 2 bunches spinach leaves
- 1 - 2 jalapeños optional
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions grated
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ inch cinnamon stick
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
- 2 medium tomatoes diced finely
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder as per taste
- 2 tablespoons yogurt
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup cubed paneer
- 1 tablespoon clarified butter or plain butter
- 1 tablespoon julienne ginger
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Wash spinach leaves. Blanch by dipping leaves into boiling water for one minute, then plunging them into a large bowl of cold water. In a food processor, coarsely puree the spinach, adding jalapeños if you prefer spice. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a wok. Add onions, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pods; fry until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and fry for 2 minutes longer.
- Add tomatoes, turmeric, red chili powder and yogurt and cook 10 minutes Add salt to taste. Add the spinach paste and paneer and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes.
- TO GARNISH: Heat butter in a small saucepot and add ginger. Stir until fragrant, then remove from heat and add cream. Garnish Palak Paneer with ginger mixture. Serve hot.
- Serve with roti, naan, or steamed basmati rice.