Palak Paneer


This is a dish that comes together very quickly for a simple weeknight dinner with naan or basmati rice. I use frozen spinach instead of fresh, because you cannot tell the difference once the spinach is pureed, and I always keep a bag of frozen spinach in my freezer. But if you prefer to use fresh spinach, then go ahead and use that.

Palak Paneer


  • 12 oz Paneer Cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 medium Onion Chopped finely
  • 2 Tomatoes Chopped finely
  • 16 oz Frozen Spinach
  • 1" Piece Fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 3-4 Green chillies If using Jalapeno or serrano, 1 should be plenty
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 4 Whole cloves
  • 1 Tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 Tsp Cumin powder (Jeera Powder)
  • 1 Tsp Coriander powder (Dhania powder)
  • 1/2 Tsp Chili powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Garam masala optional
  • 1 Pinch Turmeric powder
  • 1 Tsp Kasoori Methi (Dried fenugreek leaves) Optional
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp Oil


To prepare the paneer

  • Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick spray. The paneer will stick to the tray if you forget to grease it properly. Arrange the paneer cubes in a single layer. Bake in a 350F oven for 8 minutes or until the edges turn a bit golden.
  • While the paneer is baking prepare a bowl with 2 cups of hot water
  • Transfer the paneer from the oven to the hot water and set aside. Do not leave the paneer in the oven, or they will turn hard and rubbery. Soaking them in hot water keeps the paneer soft.

To make the sauce

  • Chop the onions and tomatoes finely and set aside separately.
  • Peel and chop the ginger, garlic, and green chillies into smaller chunks. They will get pureed, so no need to chop them finely.
  • Thaw the frozen spinach by running it under hot water in a colander. Drain the excess liquid after washing. No need to squeeze it dry. You can also thaw it using the microwave.
  • Puree the thawed spinach, ginger, garlic, green chillies and cloves in a blender. Add a little water if needed to get the blender going.
  • Heat a large saucepan with 1 tablespoon of oil on medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the cumin seeds and wait for them to sizzle and turn golden.
  • Add the chopped onions and saute until they soften
  • Add the turmeric to the onions.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and saute for a couple minutes.
  • Add half the salt (I like to season in stages)
  • Add the cumin and coriander powder, and cinnamon, give it a quick stir.
  • Add the pureed spinach mix. Keep a saucepan lid nearby, since the spinach will bubble and splatter when it hits the hot saucepan.
  • Once the spinach settles down, remove the cover and stir well. Add the rest of the salt and continue to cook covered for another 8-10 minutes until the spinach loses its bright green color and the oil begins to separate.
  • Drain the paneer cubes from the hot water and add them to the sauce. Stir to evenly distribute the paneer cubes in the sauce, and simmer on a low fire covered for another 5 minutes to allow the paneer to soak in the sauce. The sauce should be the consistency of marinara sauce, not too runny or too thick. Adjust with cooking for a little bit longer uncovered, or add a little water if it is too thick.
  • Taste the sauce for spice and salt. This is the time to add extra chilly powder and adjust the salt.
  • Add the optional garam masala and kasoori methi and serve hot.
  • Serve with warm naan or basmati rice.


  • For extra richness replace the oil with ghee.
  • Palak paneer makes for good leftovers. The paneer will absorb more flavors overnight. When reheating the leftover palak paneer, you might need to add a small amount of water to dilute the sauce if the paneer has soaked up a lot of water.
  • You can use fresh spinach instead of frozen, but I prefer to use frozen since it makes it easy to throw a quick dinner together with something that is a freezer staple for me.
Photo by Kanwardeep Kaur on Unsplash
Cook delicious - by Sandhya Jaideep © Copyright 2023. All rights reserved.