Palak paneer is a traditional Indian recipe without meat. Like many dishes in the Indian cuisine it is flavored with a wonderful blend of spices and apart from the main ingredients Palak (Spinach)
and paneer ((Indian fresh cheese) there are notably tomatoes, garlic and onions that help to give this mild to medium hot dish volume and structure.
This recipe was inspired by the recipe from Migi78 who published her version of this great Indian dish in German language at the following link Palak-Paneer
You might be able to purchase your paneer at an Indian grocery store but if you have the time I think it will be much more fun to make this easy to prepare fresh cheese from scratch at home.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Resting time: min. 2 to 3 hours
Total time needed: min. 4 hours minutes
Grade of Difficulty: standard
for Palak Paneer
For the paneer
- 2 liter / 0.26 gallons full cream milk
- app. 5 tbs. vinegar or lemon juice
For the gravy
- 1 bunch fresh spinach or (swiss chard)
- 3 to 4 fresh ripe tomatoes
- 1 medium sized onion, chopped fine
- 3 cloves of garlic chopped fine
- 1 piece (app. thumb sized) of fresh ginger, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
- 1 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 tsp. jeera powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 5 tbs. fresh cream
- 1 tsp. dried chilli flakes, or one small cayenne pepper chopped fine.
- 3 tbs. olive or cocos oil
- 1/2 tsp. garum masala
If you want to prepare your own paneer you will need to proceed as follows.
- Pour 2 liters of full cream milk into a large pot and heat it up on a stove. Stir it regularly to prevent the milk from burning.
- When the milk begins to boil add about 5 tbs. vinegar or lemon juice to it and keep stirring it. This should make the milk curdle (the solid parts and liquid parts of it will begin to separate)
- Switch of the stove. Place a cheese cloth into a colander or a finely meshed net and pour the hot milk into the cheese cloth. The liquid whey will run through the cloth and the white solids will be collected in the cloth.
- Wait for 5 to 10 minutes for the whey to drain off then carefully squeeze the fresh cheese inside the cloth to get more of the liquid to drain off.
- Then carefully close the cloth at the top (either with a rubber band or a knot) and put it on a large flat plate.
- Place a small pot with water on top of the cloth and let it stand on it for at least 2 hours. For better results we often wait for up to 8 hours before we take the cheese out of the cloth.
- When you want to take the cheese out of the cloth remove the cloth carefully from it and place it on a plate.
Next divide the paneer into bite sized pieces and use as described in the recipe for the gravy.
- Heat oil in a pan onto medium hot
- Add onions, garlic, ginger, mustard seeds and jeera to the pan and braise all till onions start to soften and turn brown. Stir regularly to prevent ingredients from burning.
- Add most of the diced tomatoes (keeping only about 5 to 10% for later use), chili, turmeric, coriander seeds, salt, fresh cream, and spinach (palak) to the pan and let it simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Next add the chopped paneer pieces to the pan and carefully mix them in with the other ingredients, cover the pan again with the lid and let everything simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the Garam Marsala, mix it in carefully, turn off the stove, cover pan with the lid and let the dish blend for another 3 to 5 minutes. Garnish with the remaining tomato dices, and serve your palak paneer with plain or turmeric flavored basmati rice or naan bread.
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