Paneer-Indian Cottage cheese simmered in a deliciously smooth, mildly spiced spinach sauce, a dish that every Indian loves.
Everyone has a constant order at their favourite restaurant and my late father had one too. It is memories of our weekly trip to the famous, Royal Darbar, a Mughlai restaurant in the beautiful city of Mangalore that is attached to this recipe. We were such regular customers, that every time we went, the waiters knew what our order was- Palak Paneer, Rumali roti and Reshmi Kebab. If this combination was served to me everyday, I’d still lick the plates off like I did as a little girl.
The version that I choose to share today is the one mum taught me a couple of years back and a slightly healthier version than the ones served at restaurants.
The best part about this is its nutritious, obviously, a perfect blend of greens and protein, easy to make, and for my non vegetarian lovers paneer can be easily replaced with chicken.
250-300 gms of Paneer cubes
200 gms of Spinach chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (Jeera)
1 large onion sliced
4 Green chilis chopped (vary according to spice preference)
1 medium sized tomato sliced
1/4 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1/4 tsp Garam Masala powder
7-10 curry leaves
1-2 tsp Cooking cream (optional)
Ghee/ butter to fry
*For a non-veg option, replace paneer with chicken. Follow the same method.
*Spinach is generally blanched to preserve the vibrant green color. To do this, add spinach to hot boiling water for a minute and immediately transfer it to a bowl of ice cold water for a minute.
In a pot, heat some ghee/butter and add the cumin seeds. To this add sliced onions and green chili, cook till onion turns slightly brown. Add in the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smells goes away. Toss in the tomatoes, turmeric powder and cook till mushy. Add spinach and a little water and cook till it wilts. Let it cool. If adding blanched spinach, toss with masala and let cool.
Meanwhile, heat some ghee/butter in a pan and fry the paneer cubes with the curry leaves till slightly brown. Once spinach mixture is cooled, add to a blender to make a smooth sauce. Transfer back to the pot. Toss in the fried paneer, combine and simmer. Add in the garam masala powder and season with salt. If adding cream, add at this point.
Serve with rice or rotis and enjoy the delicious nutritious gravy 🙂