Palak Paneer

, from Issue #48. August, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Palak Paneer

Even the meat-lovers in your family should enjoy this lightly spiced Indian meal. If you prefer it with a spicy kick, add about ½ teaspoon of chilli flakes. Serve with plenty of freshly cooked parathas or warm naan breads for scooping up all the lovely juices.

Serves: 4


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom and chilli flakes
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x 400 gram tin crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon caster sugar
4 cups packed spinach leaves, finely shredded
¼ cup water
finely grated zest and juice 1 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2-3 tablespoons cream

300 grams paneer
¼ cup fine semolina
1 teaspoon ground garam masala
vegetable oil for cooking



Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion with a good pinch of salt until soft. Stir in all the spices, ginger and the garlic and cook for 1 minute, adding a splash of water if needed. Add the tomatoes and caster sugar and simmer for 10 minutes. Increase the heat and add the spinach and water, turning until all the leaves are wilted and tender. Add the lemon zest and juice and season well with salt and pepper, then add the cream and cook until reduced a little.

Paneer: Cut the paneer into 3 cm cubes. Combine the semolina, garam masala and a pinch of salt in a shallow dish. Add the paneer and toss to coat on all sides. It will only be a thin coating.

Heat a little vegetable oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat and cook the paneer until a good golden colour. Drain on kitchen towels.

To serve: Place the spinach and paneer in a serving dish and accompany with Spiced Raisin Pilaf, a bowl of thick plain yoghurt and warm breads. 

Pantry note: Parathas are available in the frozen section of Indian and Asian shops as well as some supermarkets and good food stores.