Palak Paneer

a spicy, vegan, Indian side dish

Ryan Goodwin avatar
Ryan GoodwinPublished on 45 days ago

One of my favorite Indian dishes. This is my second try at making it and my first time recording the recipe. Turned out ridiculously spicy, and I've adjusted the recipe to use 1 chili instead of 2 but it will still be spicy. I plan to tweak this recipe a bit over time.

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What you will need

2 bunches spinach

1 small green chili

3 cloves garlic

1 red onion

cooking oil as needed

1 lb paneer

a sprig of curry leaves

8 oz. can tomato sauce

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp coriander

¼ tsp himalayan chili powder

¼ tsp garam masala

½ tsp cumin

1 ½ cup water

salt as needed

How to cook


Blanch and shock spinach

Drop the spinach in salted boiling water for about 30 seconds, just enough to wilt it. Then transfer it to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. The ice bath should help keep the color of the spinach vibrant.


Slice chili

These little chilies can be difficult to find. Your local Indian grocer should have them though. They pack a punch!


Peel and crush garlic

Just a rough chop is fine. We'll do our best to cook the garlic gently into oblivion.


Slice red onion

Remove the stem tip and skin, then slice. I like to call this the rainbow cut because you end up with little arches of onion.


Dice paneer

I like a fairly small dice here, but it's up to you. Notice that I've prepared all of my ingredients together on a cutting board. Later I can simply move the cutting board near the stove where the ingredients are all at arms length as I cook.


Chop spinach

I used my mini cuisinart, which is great for these types of jobs. But it would be almost just as easy to simply run a knife through the spinach a few times.


Fry paneer

Heat some oil in a skillet. Brown the paneer. I like to use chopsticks for this kind of work, but do what works for you. I like to cook my paneer on 2 sides. Up to you though. In fact, there's nothing wrong with skipping this step entirely.


Sautée onion

Start with the onion. Cook it down in some hot oil.


Add garlic and chilies

When the onion has softened and even begun to darken, stir in the garlic and chilies and give them a moment to cook, just enough to soften, but not enough to brown.


Add curry leaves

Pick the curry leaves and stir them into the onion. Curry leaves can be tough to find, but if you can find the little chilies, you should be able to find curry leaves nearby. Don't worry if you have to skip both of those ingredients though.


Add spices

You can add a little more oil here if needed. Dump in the spices and stir. Give them a minute to toast. You're ready to move to the next step when that spice aroma hits your nose. It's hard to miss.


Add tomato sauce

Scrape the pan a bit as you dump in the tomato sauce.


Add paneer

In goes the paneer. Stir it up.


Add chopped spinach

Stir in the chopped spinach.


Add water

Stir in the water. Depending on how wet your spinach was, you may not need all of the water. After the water, adjust the salt level, and serve.


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