Palak Paneer Restaurant style
Looking for the perfect recipe to make vibrant green Palak Paneer Restaurant style at home? This step-by-step recipe is for you. Out of my many attempts, this one turned out the best palak panner at home.
If this is your first time making palak paneer, don’t worry. Refer to the tips section, how to retain green color palak leaves after blanching and while making the gravy.
What is Palak Paneer?
Palak = Spinach and Paneer = Indian Cottage cheese
The dish is comprised of, soft cubes of paneer that are simmered in a creamy, luscious, mouth-melting palak gravy flavored with basic Indian spices.
Palak Paneer is a popular Indian vegetarian dish with origins in the Punjab region. This dish evolved from the North Indian traditional dish, saag paneer.
Due to the gravy’s vibrant color, it is often referred to as green paneer. It is also everyone’s favorite dish in restaurants and dhabas. Usually indulged with Indian bread like butter naan, tandoori roti, rumali roti, or rice varieties such as plain basmati rice, jeera rice, pulao.
Palak Paneer is packed with nutrition, Palak is one of the richest sources of iron and paneer, made moe milk is loaded with calcium and protein. If you cook in less oil and without cream, it is a great choice for weight loss.
Palak Paneer Recipe
I have noticed two ways palak gravy is made at restaurants and dhabas.
- One method is to blanch palak first and puree it.
- Another one is, spinach is cooked directly without blanching.
The recipe I am sharing is by blanching the palak first. The process is straightforward, first, blanch the spinach leaves and grind them to a smooth puree. Next cook along with onion tomato, ginger-garlic, green chilies, and a few basic Indian spices for flavor.
Add fresh paneer cubes, simmer for few minutes and finish by adding cream.
I like to add Punjabi tadka/tempering of ghee, chopped garlic, dry red chili, and a pinch of red chili on top. It gives an authentic restaurant look and elevates the taste too. Same as how the Kesar da Dhaba in Amritsar serve palak paneer.
So, what makes this Palak Paneer Restaurant style recipe special? The authentic recipe is about the ingredients and cooking process for the best restaurant-style taste.
Reasons to make
Palak and Paneer are healthy
The combination is delicious
Simple and easy to make
Gets ready in 30 minutes
Best way to sneak healthy greens in kids meal
Ingredients to make Palak Paneer Restaurant style
Though it’s Palak Paneer Restaurant style, the ingredients are common in Indian pantries and do not need any fancy ingredients.
Palak/Spinach: Recommend to use fresh and small/baby leaves that are light or medium green in color. Avoid dark color leaves. If you use local/desi palak leaves and stalk (stem, dandiya) are thick, do not use the stalk. If outside India can use frozen spinach too.
Coriander and Mint leaves: Use fresh leaves.
Paneer: Use homemade or store-bought. Make sure it is fresh.
Green chilies: It is the only ingredient used to make the dish spicy. Can add according to your taste.
Onion & Tomato: For the base of the gravy. Use Bangalore tomatoes, instead of local ones.
Whole Spices: Cumin seeds, dry red chilies
Cashew nuts: It adds a rich and creamy flavor to the gravy.
Fat: Oil, Butter, and Cream
Other ingredients: ginger-garlic, red chili powder.
Secret Ingredients to blanch palak
While blanching palak leaves, add fresh coriander and mint leaves. Add a pinch of sugar and salt to the boiling water, it helps to retain the color of leaves. Few of the restaurants also add a pinch of soda to make the water alkaline, to get the bright green color of palak.
It will be a treat to the eyes to watch the color pop and will make you clap for yourself or pat your back.
Soak the paneer: Homemade or store-bought, soak the paneer in hot water for 15-30 minutes.
Blanch the palak: Blanch the leaves for just a min or two and immediately add them to ice water. Blanch the paneer in an open pan, do not cover.
Palak puree: Make the puree by adding very little water. If the water is more, it has to be cooked for more time and the gravy color will turn dark.
Spice powders to avoid: Turmeric powder and red chilli powder, adding them can alter the gravy color.
Cooking the gravy: After adding palak puree, do not cook the gravy for a long time.
For soft paneer: Add the paneer after palak gravy is cooked and simmer for a min or two, else the paneer will become hard and chewy.
Do not cook the cream: Add the cream and cook for a minute, that’s it. If the cream is cooked for more time, it will turn to ghee.
Do not cover the pan/kadai throughout the cooking process. This will
How to make Palak Paneer Restaurant style?
To blanch the palak, heat lots of water to a large pot and bring to a rolling boil. Add spinach, coriander, and mint leaves. Next, add a pinch of salt, sugar, and cooking/baking soda (optional) to the water. Blanch the leaves for 1-2 minutes on high flame only. You will notice green of the leaves will deepen.
Drain the water and immediately add to ice water or run under cold water.
Heat oil in a pan and add green chilies as per taste, cashews, and roughly chopped onions. Fry for few minutes, till the onion turns soft. Next, add chopped tomatoes and till they turn soft. Add little water and cook till tomatoes turn mushy.
Next, make a smooth paste of blanched palak and cooked onion tomato.
In a pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds and dry red chilies. Let them crackle. Next, add the palak puree and mix well. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute till raw smell goes away.
Cook the palak puree for 5 minutes on medium flame. Do not overcook. Add butter and mix. Next, add paneer cubes and mix well.
Cook for a minute. Add cream and cook for a minute more. Turn off the flame.
The dish is ready to serve. Adding a second tadka is optional.
Add second tadka/tempering
Heat ghee in a small pan. Add chopped garlic and saute till it starts changing color. Next, add a dry red chilly and red chili powder. Pour the tadka over the Palak Paneer. Palak Paneer Restaurant style is ready to serve.
My personal favorite is with Butter naan or butter tandoori roti, with onions and lemon wedge on the side. It tastes good as a side dish even with rumali roti, chapatis, plain parathas, rotis, lacha parathas, pulao, jeera rice, or plain basmati rice.
You can store it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
If there is any party or get-together, you can make this dish a day ahead without the second tadka and refrigerate. Make sure to thaw the dish at room temperature for an hour. Re-heat and pour the tadka before serving. The dish will taste as good as fresh.
More Restaurant style recipes
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Palak Paneer Restaurant style
Blanching the Spinach
- 250 gms Palak (baby spinach)
- 1/4 cup Coriander leaves
- 5 Mint leaves
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Sugar
- a pinch Soda (cooking/baking)
For Palak Paneer curry
- 4 tbsp Oil
- 100 gms Paneer
- 1 Onion (roughly chopped)
- 1 Tomato (roughly chopped)
- 1 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
- 3-5 Green chilies (as per taste)
- 2 Dry red chilly
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
- 3 tbsp Cream
- 6 Cashews
- 1 tbsp Butter
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp Ghee
- 2-4 Garlic cloves (chopped)
- 1/2 tsp Red Chili powder
Blanching the Palak
- Remove the stem, clean, and wash the spinach thoroughly under running water.
- To blanch the palak, heat enough water in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil.
- Add spinach, coriander, and mint leaves.
- Next, add a pinch of salt, sugar, and cooking/baking soda (optional) to the water. Blanch the leaves for 1-2 minutes on high flame only.
- Drain the water and immediately add to ice water or run under cold water.
Making the base gravy
- Heat oil in a pan and add green chilies as per taste, cashews, and roughly chopped onions.
- Fry for few minutes, till the onion turns soft. Next, add chopped tomatoes and till they turn soft.
- Add little water and cook till tomatoes turn mushy.
- Let it cook and make a smooth paste of blanched palak along with cooked onion tomato.
Making the Palak Paneer
- In a pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds and dry red chilies. Let them crackle. Next, add the palak puree and mix well.
- Cook the palak puree for 5 minutes on medium flame. Do not overcook. Add butter and mix. Next, add paneer cubes and mix well.
- Cook for a minute. Turn off the flame and add cream. Give a good mix.
- Heat ghee in a small pan. Add chopped garlic and saute till it changes to light golden color.
- Next, add red chili powder. Pour the tadka over the Palak Paneer.
- Palak Paneer Restaurant style is ready to serve. Can garnish with cream.