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Palak Paneer or Tofu

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"It's all about the spices in this recipe. Your home will smell like Yak and Yeti for a good while. Not exactly a weeknight meal, but can be made ahead."

Serves 6 | Prep Time | Cook Time

Why I Love This Recipe

This is one of the few Indian recipes that comes close to what you could order in a restaurant. While indulgent with ghee and cream, I love that it's packed with spinach and tofu. Fun fact: this dish might have given Ryan kidney stones!

Ingredients You'll Need

2 tablespoons ghee or oil
1/2 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 large yellow or red onion, roughly chopped
1 pinch of coarse sea salt
3 -inch piece ginger, peeled and diced small (1/4 cup)
10 cloves garlic, peeled and diced (1/4 cup)
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne
2 large tomatoes, roughly diced (2 cups)
1 cup water, divided
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
1 heaping tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves, crushed slightly in one hand to release flavor (optional)
2 to 5 green Thai, Serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and chopped
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
12 packed cups fresh spinach, washed
1/2 – 1 cup cream
2 heaping cups diced paneer or baked tofu


Bake tofu at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, if using. Start rice. Heat ghee or oil over medium-high heat.

Add asafetida, cumin and turmeric. Cook 40 seconds until the seeds turn reddish brown. Mix to coat seeds with oil and avoid burning and sticking.

Add onion and pinch of salt. Cook and mix until the onion browns slightly, about 3 minutes.

Add ginger and garlic. Cook another minute.

Add garam masala, coriander, and red chile. Cook another 40 seconds. Be careful not to burn the spices.

Add tomatoes and 1/2 cup water. Cook 2 minutes.

Add tomato paste, 1/2 cup water, fenugreek, green chiles, and salt. Cook until blended, about 3 minutes. Mixing occasionally.

Slowly add spinach, mixing until you have it all in the pan. Cook uncovered until the spinach cooks down, about 8 minutes.

Turn heat off, let the mixture cool a few minutes and then blend down. Use an immersion blender or transfer to a food processor or blender, and pulse until all ingredients break down and blend together. Here, use your own judgment. If you like it smooth, process it more.

Transfer back to you pan and simmer on medium heat another 5 – 6 minutes until all the ingredients, including the spices pull together.

Add cream and paneer or tofu. Cook through and serve immediately with basmati rice, roti, or naan.

Pairs Well With

Jasmine rice and homemade roti/naan

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