Monday, April 11, 2011

The Palak Paneer Odyssey

Palak Paneer is amazing. Gooey delicious spinach. The cheese that tastes like nothing at all. The little kick when it's spiced properly. The fact that it's almost always paired with naan. Yeah, it's amazing. That means it was time to try making it. Now that I've made it... I'm always buying it from now on. It's not that it was bad, just so much work for a product that's not quite as good as what can be found at Olympia's shining star of an Indian Restaurant - Curry Corner.

Most things needed for the recipe were simple. In fact the entire thing would have been a simple shop had I not decided that ghee should be substituted for olive oil in the recipe. Seems more authentic right? Drove to the only Indian Grocery Store in Oympia... closed for good. Drove to the other side of town to get some from the wall of groceries at Curry Corner... closed for the day. Luckily the co-op turned out to have everything I needed (meaning all of my traipsing around town was completely unnecessary). Mother also bought a plethora of organic-y things and enjoyed looking around. Winner.

The recipe I used can be found here.

The recipe I used for the naan is from the same website and can be found here.


1 lb fresh spinach
8 oz paneer cheese, cubed
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup tomato puree(d)
4 cloves garlic
1.5 inches ginger
6 thai chilis
1 tsp fennel seeds
4 cloves
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp coriander powder (in retrospect, this seems like too much)
1.5 tsp curry powder
3 tsp ghee

Now, get ready to use your food processor or blender... a lot.

Boil the spinach with the fennel seeds and cloves. Get the spinach, cloves, and fennel out and leave the rest of the water aside. Blend the spinach.

Grind onion, ginger, garlic, and chili into a thick paste. Should you please, this can be done in the blender.

Heat the ghee in a pot and add the chili / onion mixture. Cook until it starts to turn a golden color and then add salt. The onions will drop some of the oil at this point... so add the coriander and curry powder.

Mix it all up and then add the pureed tomato. (If you don't have tomato puree, you can stick a tomato in  the blender.)

Cook until it thickens up a bit and add the pureed spinach mix.  Turn the heat down to low. Cover and simmer for a few minutes. If it's thicker than you want, add some water from the set aside pot.

Now, boil either the set aside pot of flavored water with some extra salt or a new pot of salted water. Once it reaches a boil, kill the heat and add the cheese cubes. Let them sit for 3 minutes (this drains off the fat... I guess).

Add the heavy cream and cheese cubes. Bring it back to a boil one last time. Serve with rice and/or naan.

All the ingredients blended up and ready to go.

Palak Paneer and Whole Wheat Naan


  1. You should make the paneer, too for even greater hassle! I've actually done a simpler version of this recipe that didn't take that long. I used vegetable oil instead of ghee.

  2. Nick, I lived in India till age 6 and I think this website has the best/authentic recipes... !