I love Indian food.  It is so flavorful and creamy and decadent.  Indian food is one of the culinary regions that I have yet to tackle.  My favorite dishes are chicken tikka masala and palak paneer.  I have attempted to make both before.  The palak paneer came out great, but the chicken tikka masala was a bit too tomatoey.

The palak paneer utilized a spice package from the local international market.  This time, I wanted to try it without the packet.  The hardest part was finding some of the ingredients.  Plus many of the “from-scratch” recipes were different.  It was difficult to tell how to substitute spices.  In the end, I figured the dish would be great even if it didn’t taste like the restaurant counterpart.


There are a few changes from traditional recipes.  palak paneer - spicesFirst, I prefer my spinach chopped rather than pureed.  To puree the sauce, place it in a blender before adding the paneer.  Second, I could not find some of the spices (like garam masala) in the store.  I used cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves as a substitute.palak paneer - cashewspalak paneer - spinach



  • 1 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t cayenne
  • Salt
  • 14 oz. paneer
  • 6 c spinach leaves
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 t fresh ground Ginger
  • 1 tomato choppedpalak paneer - paneer
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green chili (serrano or jalapeno) chopped and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup cashews, finely chopped
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1 t cuminpalak paneer - veg
  • 1/4 t cardamom
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t clove
  • 1/2 c plain yogurt

Finely chop the cashews and mix the spice: 2 t ground coriander, 1 t cumin, 1/4 t cardamom, 1/4 t cinnamon, and 1/4 t clove.

palak paneer - crushed cashewspalak paneer - spice mix







Combine 1 t turmeric and 1/2 t cayenne in a medium mixing bowl.  Cut the
paneer into bite sized cubes.  Add the paneer to the turmeric and cayenne and gently stir to coat.  Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

palak paneer - paneer cubed palak paneer - paneer spice coating







In a large pot, combine chopped onion and garlic and 2 tablespoons of water.  Heat over medium; heat for about 10 minutes.  Add ginger, green chili, tomato, and cashews.  Add spices coriander, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. Add some water, about 1/2 cup.  Add spinach leaves.  Reduce heat to low and cook for about 30 minutes for the spinach leave to wilt.  If needed add more water 1 tablespoon at a time.

palak paneer - veg saute palak paneer - veg with spice

palak paneer - veg, spice, and nut mix



palak paneer - veg, spice, and nut mix watered





palak paneer - spinach addedpalak paneer - spinach cooked down












In a separate pan, brown the cheese.  Heat the pan over medium heat.  Spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Empty about 1/3 of the cheese into the pan.  Let the cheese cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes.  Place the cheese in the spinach mixture once all sides and browned.  Continue until all the cheese is browned and added to the spinach.

palak paneer - paneer browned palak paneer - paneer added to spinach palak paneer - paneer finished



Serve with basmati rice and naan.



garlic naan







Pictured with Chicken Tikka Masala.

palak paneer - plated