Recipe : Palak Paneer (minus the paneer)

I adore North Indian foods, if only they are not so expensive. Each meal in a decent restaurant normally set us back by almost RM200 per family. I know some of the ingredients are expensive like saffron thread which cost more than gold itself!

So, we don’t eat North Indian that much except on special occassions. However, there is one dish that I love and will definitely order them each time. It is palak paneer or cottage cheese with spinach.


I did a quick googling but cannot find a recipe easy enough to follow. So, I created my own. Over here in the saucepan is a blended paste of green chillies, garlic, onion, ginger and mixed spices (the one I bought from Tesco).


Most recipes call for the spinach to be boiled and then blended to a paste. I wanted to get lots of fibres from the spinach and decided to chop them instead. As I was using baby spinach, I merely cut them up. I throw in some imported frozen spinach which I had in the fridge.


My ‘rationed’ plate of brown rice, tofu, palak and a little soya bean that suppose to looks like chicken drumstick.

Some recipes call for the addition of cream and milk. I threw in some grated parmesan cheese instead. It makes the fibrous spinach creamier. Nice combination.

Here’s my recipe in case I forget them. (If I don’t jot down on my food blog, most probably I won’t remember how to cook it the next time.) Probably, next time I will buy myself a packet of paneer and add them in. Paneer is actually cow’s milk which had been squeezed off the water content. I have seen panner on the supermarket shelves but they are rather expensive, though. Maybe the addition of feta cheese (cheaper) will be nice too.

Palak Paneer (my version)

4 green chillies, seeded

1 large white or yellow onion

1 bulb garlic

1 thumbsize ginger

Blend the above into a paste

2 teaspoons of mixed spices (I will post the photo when I get back my other camera which takes better macro shots)

1 bunch of spinach, about 600 grams, washed and chopped

1 tablespoon butter or ghee

some cheese to bind the paste

Paneer – if available


Heat butter/ghee and add in mixed spices. Add in blended ingredients and stir until fragrant. Add in spinach. Note that no water is required because the vegetable has enough liquid. Stir for a while till spinach turned darker green and limp. Add in some cheese to make the paste smoother. Otherwise, the spinach can be fibrous and rough. Season with some salt.

It goes well with rice, chappati, bread or even pasta (I think 🙂 )

If you notice I missed out any ingredients, please do tell me. I like the taste from the spinach but of course, it doesn’t taste anything like those I get from North Indian restaurants.


Here’s a peek at my dinner last night. A bowl of white radish with red dates, the spinach and the left over of the vegetarian dhal. I am so into vegetarian diet now!

7 Replies to “Recipe : Palak Paneer (minus the paneer)”

  1. The palak looks good. Yeah, I feel the same way abt Northern Indian food too, it’s so expensive when actually it’s cheaper to make it at home.

  2. Like you, I always order palak panneer/sag paneer and it is funny how this dish is different from one restaurant to another. I have also concocted my own version of palak panneer and turned out alright.

  3. Hi, I too love this dish and always do it at home. A good substitute for Paneer is ricotta cheese. Here in Aussie, I can’t find Paneer so easily in the supermarkets so I normally use ricotta. It’s cheaper and quite a good substitute IMHO. Here’s what I add to my dish most of the time: onions, garlic and ginger pulp, ground cumin and coriander, a dash of garam masala and chilli powder, and sometimes, one finely chopped tomato. I feel the tomato gives the bland spinach a rounder taste. You don’t taste it in the spinach after it has cooked down. I add grated cheese at the end too.

  4. Your palak without paneer looks superb. Mixing the two types of spinach is an excellent idea. The final result on the plate with rice, tofu and vegetarian drumstick is absolutely gorgeous. If paneer is not readily available or too expensive, you can make your own with milk and vinegar. It’s very easy and fun to prepare. I wouldn’t use feta cheese (probably Emborg or Puck brands) for this dish as it’s too salty and much too soft and brittle and will ruin your dish. I know many Indians who use tofu instead of paneer. It’s much cheaper, very tasty and works well. Plus you can still call your your dish ‘palak paneer’ as you are using cheese – made from soya beans, but nevertheless cheese…

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