Palak Paneer – Pan-seared Paneer is bathed in a smooth and luscious spinach sauce infused with Indian spices. An easy authentic recipe, perfect for weeknight dinners. This is an adaptable recipe, perfect for mixed households, see notes.
- one recipe for Paneer ( or 24 ounces store-bought paneer, or crispy tofu, or chicken, or roasted veggies)
- 3 tablespoons ghee
- one white or yellow onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons ginger, rough chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- ½ –1 jalapeno or use 2 serano chillies, rough chopped
- 2 teaspoons cumin ( ground or seeds)
- 2 teaspoons coriander ( ground or seeds)
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds (optional)
- 10–12 ounces frozen spinach ( 1 ½ lbs fresh BABY spinach, see notes)
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup plain yogurt
- ½ cup cashews
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar or alternative
- squeeze lemon (optional)
In a large skillet, (a non-stick works great here) heat a few tablespoons oil or ghee and season the oil generously with salt and pepper. Pan-sear the paneer or crispy tofu until golden and crispy, and set it aside, covered with foil.
Wipe out the skillet, heat 3 tablespoons ghee over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, garlic and chilies, and sauté until deeply golden and fragrant, stirring often, about 15 minutes, taking your time here.
Add the spices (coriander, cumin, garam masala and mustard seeds) and sauté 2-3 more minutes. Add the frozen spinach and cup of water, lower heat and simmer uncovered until the spinach is just thawed.
Place this in a blender, (see notes) topping it with the yogurt and cashews. Add the salt and sugar. Blend well, until silky smooth. If the mixture is too dry to blend, add just enough water to get the motor going. Taste, and adjust the heat by adding a little cayenne if you want more of a kick. Add a squeeze of lemon if you want it tangier.
Place the blended spinach sauce back into the pan uncovered, on med-low heat. (Covering it will lose the lovely vibrant color ). Warm it up gently and slowly, stirring often so it doesn’t burn. Add the pan-seared paneer and continue cooking until the paneer is warmed just warmed through.
Blending: If you like more “chunky sauce” rather than a smooth creamy spinach sauce , feel free to only blend half of the spinach mixture.
Make the flavorful spinach sauce and serve it over anything you like- perfect for mixed households where some want vegan, some want meat. It is tasty over roasted cauliflower, pan-seared chicken or fish, tofu, roasted veggies, etc. Get creative!
FRESH SPINACH: Use baby spinach, mature spinach may make it bitter. Make sure to separately (it may too much to manage in the onion pan) or in batches, and add it to the onion-garlic mixture. You need about 1 ½ -2 cups wilted.
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