I have cut most dairy from my diet these days, but if there is one dairy item that I cannot resist, it would be succulent creamy paneer cheese. It doesn’t melt while cooking and takes on the flavors that are included in the dish, making it an ideal addition to curries. For this creation, I didn’t even bother to fry the paneer ahead of time.
With an array of aromatic spices, tangy tomatoes, plump chickpeas, baby spinach and some almond milk to add a bit of nuttiness, this version of paneer palak (curried paneer and spinach) is a filling dish that only really needs some grain served along as a side or perhaps a favorite Indian flat bread. Traditionally, paneer palak does not contain chickpeas, but I wanted an extra boost of protein and it worked out perfectly and really comes together in hardly any time at all.
I’m not fond of soy products myself, but you could use tofu in place of the paneer and cut out the yogurt if you want to keep this dish vegan.
|Paneer and Spinach in a Spicy Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas (Paneer Palak)
|Recipe by Lisa Turner
Published on January 11, 2016
Simple, rich and flavorful spinach and chickpea curry with pieces of tender paneer cheese simmered in a gravy of tomatoes and aromatic spices
Print this recipe
- 2/3 cup dried chickpeas (2 cups cooked)
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 to 2 fresh green or red chilies, seeded and chopped
- 2 dried whole red chilies, broken
- 1/3 cup red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame or olive oil
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons yogurt
- 1/2 cup milk or almond milk
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon brown or coconut sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 8 to 12 oz (200 to 300 g) paneer cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Rinse the chickpeas and soak in several inches of water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour or until tender. Drain and set aside.
Combine the tomatoes, chilies, onion, garlic, ginger and ground spices in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the spiced tomato purée to the pan and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, until thickened.
Now add the spinach and yogurt and cook until the spinach leaves are just wilted. Add the milk, water, sugar and vinegar, bring to a gentle boil, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the paneer cubes and chickpeas and simmer, covered, for another 5 to 10 minutes. Add more water to achieve desired consistency.
Stir in the salt, black pepper and chopped fresh parsley and serve with hot fresh cooked white rice or flat breads of your choice.
Makes 6 servings
Other paneer dishes to enjoy from Lisa’s Kitchen:
Paneer Tomato Curry with Indian and Thai Flavors
Curried Red Kidney Beans with Paneer (Paneer Rajma)
Chickpea and Paneer Tomato Curry
Indian-Style Macaroni and Paneer Cheese with Spinach