Palak paneer recipe step-by-step at home with step-by-step pictures– Best North Indian restaurant-style palak paneer is very popular among Indian people. What is this palak paneer dish? Palak paneer is a north Indian style delicious creamy spinach curry cooked with cottage cheese and a few simple Indian spices. Paratha, roti, naan, or even rice is the best accompaniment to this dish.
About this recipe
Palak is a Hindi term used to denote spinach whereas paneer(also a Hindi word) means Indian cottage cheese. So palak paneer is a dish containing palak and paneer both. In this dish basically, the paneer is cooked in a delicious creamy pureed spinach gravy. Today I am going to share the Best North Indian restaurant-style palak paneer recipe which is easy to make at home with step-by-step pictures.
Do you feel something is missing in your homemade palak panner recipe and it doesn’t have that restaurant-style taste? So today we will learn how to make a North Indian restaurant-style delicious palak paneer recipe at home. Just follow step-by-step instructions and you will be an expert in making the same restaurant-style recipe at home with easily available ingredients.
However, to make the best palak paneer, we need to apply a combined method used in a north Indian home and in Indian restaurants. Start with choosing soft palak leaves not their stem. Blanch it in hot water with little sugar to retain its green color along with removing its bitter taste. Blend it well to make a creamy paste of palak. Cook it in butter with onion-ginger-garlic and tomatoes with the flavor of cumin and bay leaves. Use fresh cream for balancing the tanginess of tomato and bitterness of palak. Whereas, garam masala & hing(asafoetida) for delicious taste, good digestion, and flavor. Though hing is my own addition to keep us fit after having such rich and heavy dishes at home. Generally, I make it at dinner, but you can enjoy this delicious palak recipe at lunch too with roti, paratha, naan even plain rice or pulao is also not a bad option.
North Indian palak paneer vs punjabi palak paneer
Palak paneer is basically a veg recipe of north indian cuisine, though it is similarly popular in Punjabi cuisine too. But both of them prepare palak paneer with their own style like North Indian people are more health-conscious so they make it with less masala and oil whereas Punjabi people use more butter and spices to make it like in restaurants and dhabas. So if you are health conscious then must go with the North Indian version and if you only concentrate on its taste then I must say the Punjabi style will suites you best.
As you know south Indian people use curry leaves in their all dishes for good flavor, the same way Punjabi people use Kasuri methi in each of their recipes, and this palak paneer is also not out of it. They use Kasuri methi as tarka which adds a special flavor to their recipes. So if you have no problem with that then you must go for it or just skip it like me.
However, my recipe follows both healthy and tasty theory as I serve it for my kid too.
We Bengalis have several palak recipes, but we never try such awesome preparation with paneer or cottage cheese. So being a Bengali especially a nonvegetarian, while started making palak paneer at home, it was really hard to bring that authentic north indian restaurant style taste at the beginning.
My dad is my cooking guru especially for making this recipe. Being a huge fan of North Indian and Punjabi-style veg dishes, he often makes restaurant-style palak, paneer, saag, or dal recipes at home. During his job life, he has several experiences having food in different dhabas in Punjab. As Dad says, nobody can make such delicious palak paneer how it make in Punjabi Dhaba. Though I never go to Punjab and am still deprived of that taste. So when I decided to make it at home, I first asked for my dad’s advice. But it’s been a long time and now he couldn’t remember that recipe properly so I started making it in my way. And I got success after a long time. So I wanted to share this recipe with you. And for your convenience, I described this recipe with step-by-step photos.
Tips for the best restaurant-style palak paneer recipe
- Here I have used homemade paneer. If you’re using store-bought paneer, then you can keep the paneer cubes in hot water for 2-3 mins before adding it to this recipe. That will make the paneer so soft.
- Always try to use the soft, tender palak with small and light green color leaves that enhance its taste twice. Don’t use palak’s stem, that will make it bitter in taste.
- Even if you want, may sauté the paneer cubes in oil for 2 mins at the beginning. As I don’t prefer to sauté or fry my paneer, I skip that part.
- I have added the water twice while making the gravy of this curry to enhance its taste.
- Instead of putting the blanched spinach in chilled water or ice water, I transferred the spinach leaves into two separate bowls with normal water. In the first bowl, the spinach will release its maximum heat and in the second bowl the leaves will completely cool down in no time. Chilled water is used to immediately release the heat and cool down, and retain its color and my process will also do the same.
Healthy Benefits of blanching palak
- Though palak is known for its healthy properties like it’s full of rich nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. But palak contains a large amount of oxalic acid too which remains as a compound with other nutrients. And oxalic acid causes different health issues and only heat can break it down, and then only our body can easily absorb the other nutrients, so blanching of palak is more important to make it healthy.
2. Due to blanching, the palak leaves will be soft and you can easily blend it to make a smooth puree of it.
3. Lastly, these days a huge amount of pesticides are used to protect leafy vegetables from the insects and only cleaning with water is not enough to remove such harmful things from the leaves. So before cooking blanching can easily remove those unwanted harmful things from the palak leaves.
How to remove the bitterness of spinach?
- As Palak is bitter in taste, so we have to first remove its stem while preparing this recipe, which means here only leaves will be used.
- I’ve used 1 tsp of sugar while blanching the palak. Because the sugar will help to reduce the bitterness and also retain the green color of palak also after blanching.
- Here I’ve used tomato and lemon juice both. Even you may use curd instead of tomato. And the sourness of tomato (or curd) and lemon juice will also help together to reduce its bitterness.
- As sugar and cream both are sweet in taste so the addition of these two also can reduce its bitterness.
To remove its bitterness must follow the above instructions.
Must prepare this North Indian restaurant style palak paneer at home and let me know your valuable comment about this recipe by writing it down in the comment section below.
Even you may try some of my other veg recipes
Best restaurant-style palak paneer recipe
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Serve time: 40 mins
Course: Side dish
Cuisine: North Indian
Serving for: 4-5 people
Author: Moumita Paul
Ingredients of palak paneer
- 200 gms Palak leaves( from a bundle of 450 gms)
- 300 gms Paneer
- 1/4 cup Fresh Cream
- 2 Medium Sized Onions(finely chopped)
- 1 Tomato(Medium-sized)
- 8-9 pcs Garlic Cloves
- 1/2 inch Ginger
- 1 pcs Green chilli
- 1/2 tsp Garam masala powder
- 1/8 tsp Hing or Asafoetida
- 1/2 tsp Red chili powder
- 1/2 or 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1+1/2 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3/4 cup Water
- 5 cubes Butter
- 3 tbsp Vegetable oil
How to make best restaurant-style palak paneer at home with step-by-step pictures
- First, remove the stem of the palak/spinach(from the 450 g bundle) and wash it thoroughly 4-5 times.
- Then Place a vessel on high heat with 3 to 4 cups(around 1 liter) of water and add palak to it.
- Then add 1 tsp sugar to the spinach leaves to retain their original color and to reduce their bitterness.
- After 3-4 mins, when the water gets hot and the spinach leaves blanched well, then turn off the heat.
- Then immediately transfer the leaves to a bowl full of water(at room temperature), and stir it well 3-4 times.
- Again transfer the leaves to another bowl of normal water to completely cool them down.
- After 2 mins, lightly squeeze the leaves and straight put them into the blender with 4 pcs garlic cloves.
- Blend it well to get a smooth paste or puree.
Cooking palak paneer
- Heat the pan on medium flame with 3 cubes of butter and 3 tbsp of vegetable oil.
- When the butter completely melts down, then add 1/4 tsp cumin seeds and 2 bay leaves to the pan.
- Then add 2 medium-sized chopped onions to the pan and sauté it well for 3-4 mins.
- In the meantime, take a small blender jar with 1 medium-sized tomato(cut into cubes), 5 pcs garlic cloves, 1 pc green chili, and 1/2 inch ginger.
- Blend it well to get a smooth paste.
- After 3-4 mins, when the onion gets soft and turns into a light pink color, then add the tomato-ginger-garlic-green chili paste to it. Sauté it well.
- Then add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp garam masala powder to it and mix it well.
- Add 1/2 tsp red chili powder and sauté the masalas till the oil starts separating from it.
- Then add the palak puree and mix it nicely. Sauté it for 1 min and then add 1/8 tsp hing(asafoetida) to it. Mix it well.
- Saute the puree for 2 more mins and then add 1/4 cup or 4 tbsp fresh cream to it. Mix it nicely and cook it for 1-2 mins.
- Then add the paneer cubes(≈ 300 g) to it and mix them together.
- It is my homemade paneer even though you may use the store-bought one too.
- Saute it for 2 mins and then add 1/2 tsp sugar to it and mix it up well.
- When the moisture almost goes off, then add first add 1/4 cup(≈ 4 tbsp) of water to it.
- Let it cook till the gravy gets thick.
- Then again add 1/2 cup(≈ 8 tbsp) of water and cook it till gets a little thick or your desired consistency.
- After getting that desired thickness, add 2 cubes of butter to it.
- Then add again 1/4 tsp garam masala powder to the gravy and mix it nicely. It will retain a light flavor of garam masalas till the end.
- Lastly, squeeze 1/2 lemon or 1 tbsp lemon juice to it, stir it quickly, and turn off the heat.
- Lemon juice will enhance the taste and flavor of this dish.
- Best North Indian restaurant-style palak paneer is ready. Serve it hot with roti, chapati, paratha, or even with plain rice, homemade jeera rice, or pulao.