Palak paneer is a popular vegetarian dish from the Indian subcontinent. It consists of a thick, creamy spinach-based sauce with chunks of soft paneer (cottage cheese). This dish is usually made with a mixture of traditional Indian spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric and garam masala.
Palak Paneer is a highly nutritious and satisfying dish that is enjoyed by both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. The dish is popular all over India and is usually served as a main course with roti, naan or rice. It has also gained a global following and can be found on the menus of many Indian restaurants around the world.
The popularity of palak paneer stems from its delicious taste, rich flavor and nutritional value. The spinach-based sauce is rich in iron, vitamins A, C and K and a great source of fibre. The soft paneer cubes add a creamy texture to the dish and are a good source of protein. Overall, Palak Paneer is a satisfying and healthy dish that has become a staple in Indian cuisine and is enjoyed by many people around the world.
The exact origin of palak paneer is unclear, but it is believed to have originated in northern India, specifically in the Punjab region. The dish is considered a part of Mughlai cuisine, which was developed in India during the Mughal Empire in the 16th century.
Spinach was brought to India by the Persians, and it soon became a popular ingredient in Indian cooking. On the other hand, paneer is a type of fresh cheese that has been made in India for centuries.
The combination of palak and paneer is said to have been first created in the Mughal kitchen, where cooks experimented with different ingredients to create new and innovative dishes. Palak paneer was one such dish that was created and it soon became a popular vegetarian option in Mughlai cuisine.
Over time, palak paneer became a staple dish in northern India and spread to other parts of the country. Today, it is relished all over the world and is a favorite among vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
Step By Step Recipe
Here’s the step-by-step recipe for making palak paneer:
- 2 cups spinach leaves, washed and chopped
- 1 cup paneer, cut into cubes
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1-2 green chilies, chopped
- 1/2 inch ginger, grated
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 2 tbsp oil
- salt to taste
- water as required
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan on medium heat. Add chopped spinach leaves and cook while stirring for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool.
- Once cooled, blend the spinach leaves in a blender or food processor to make a smooth puree. Cancel.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan on medium heat. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
- Add chopped onions and fry till golden brown.
- Add minced garlic, grated ginger and chopped green chillies. Fry for 1-2 minutes till the aroma comes out.
- Add coriander powder, turmeric powder and garam masala. mix well.
- Add crushed spinach to the pan and mix well. Add salt as per taste.
- Add the cubed paneer to the pan and mix gently. Add water as required to adjust the consistency of the gravy.
- Cook the mixture on a low flame for 5-7 minutes till the paneer is cooked and the gravy becomes thick.
- Once done, remove from heat and serve hot with roti, naan or rice.
- Enjoy your delicious Homemade Palak Paneer!
Palak paneer is a highly nutritious and healthy dish that is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Here are some of the nutritional benefits of this popular Indian dish:
High in Protein: Paneer, the main ingredient in Palak Paneer, is a good source of protein. 100 grams of paneer provides around 14 grams of protein, making it an excellent option for vegetarians who need to meet their daily protein intake.
Rich in Vitamins: Palak paneer is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. Spinach, the main ingredient of this dish, is rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A is important for maintaining healthy vision, while vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system. Vitamin K is important for bone health.
Good for digestion: Spinach is high in dietary fiber, which is important for healthy digestion. Fiber also helps control blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and prevent constipation.
Boosts the immune system: Palak paneer is rich in antioxidants, which help boost the immune system and protect against disease. The spices used in this dish, such as cumin, coriander and turmeric, also have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help promote overall health.
Low in calories: Palak paneer is a low-calorie dish, which makes it a great option for those watching their weight. There are only 100-150 calories in 100 grams of Palak Paneer.
Overall, Palak Paneer is a nutritious and healthy dish that offers a host of health benefits. This is a great option for vegetarians looking for a protein-rich and satisfying meal.
Palak paneer is a versatile dish that can be prepared in many different ways according to different tastes and preferences. Here are some variations of palak paneer that you can try:
Makhani Palak Paneer: This variation of Palak Paneer is made with a creamy tomato based sauce instead of a spinach based sauce. Adding cream and butter gives this dish a rich and decadent flavor.
Kadai Palak Paneer: This version of palak paneer is prepared with a spicy tomato-based sauce and flavored with Kadai Masala, a blend of spices that includes coriander, cumin and fennel seeds.
Palak Paneer with Corn: This variety of Palak Paneer is made by adding sweet corn kernels to the palak chutney. The addition of corn gives the dish a sweet and crunchy texture.
Palak Paneer with Mushrooms: This version of Palak Paneer is prepared by adding chopped mushrooms to a spinach-based sauce. The earthy flavor of the mushrooms complements the rich and creamy spinach sauce.
Palak Paneer with Tofu: This is a vegetarian version of Palak Paneer made with tofu instead of paneer. Tofu is a great source of plant-based protein and has a texture similar to cottage cheese.
Palak Paneer Paratha: This variation of Palak Paneer is made by stuffing a filling of spinach and paneer inside a paratha, which is a type of Indian flatbread. It makes a delicious and filling breakfast or lunch option.
These are just a few of the many variations of palak paneer that you can try. Experiment with different ingredients and flavors to create your own unique twist on this classic dish.
Here are some frequently asked questions about Palak Paneer:
What is palak paneer?
Palak paneer is a popular North Indian dish made by combining palak (spinach) and paneer (cottage cheese) in a creamy sauce. It is a vegetarian dish usually served with rice or naan bread.
Is Palak Paneer healthy?
Yes, Palak Paneer is a healthy dish which is full of nutrients. Spinach is a good source of vitamins and minerals, while paneer is rich in protein. It is also a low-calorie dish, which makes it a great option for those watching their weight.
Can palak paneer be made vegan?
Yes, palak paneer can be made vegan by substituting paneer with tofu or any other vegetarian paneer. Sauces can be made using plant-based ingredients such as coconut milk or cashew cream.
Which spices are used in Palak Paneer?
The spices used in palak paneer usually include cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala and chili powder. These spices give the dish its signature flavor and aroma.
How is palak paneer served?
Palak paneer is usually served with rice or naan bread. It can also be served with roti, paranthas, or any other type of Indian bread.
How long does palak paneer last in the fridge?
Palak paneer can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. To reheat, simply microwave or heat on the stovetop until warm.
Can Palak Paneer be frozen?
Yes, Palak Paneer can be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, simply transfer the cold dish to a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then microwave or reheat on the stovetop until warm.Image by Freepik