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Easy Palak Paneer Recipe with Homemade Paneer

Summer Yule
This palak paneer recipe uses tangy, crave-worthy homemade paneer. Skip the takeout and consider making this pretty, veggie-filled, and delicious dish!
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Paneer making 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 669 kcal

Ingredients

For the paneer:

  • ½ gallon milk, 2%
  • 6 T lemon juice, fresh squeezed

For the palak paneer:

  • 1 c brown basmati rice, dry
  • ½ t turmeric
  • 1 t garam masala
  • salt, to taste
  • 2.5 T ghee, melted (divided)
  • 20 ounces frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded, finely chopped (or keep the seeds for more heat)
  • 2 t fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ T cumin
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 t coriander
  • ½ c goat milk yogurt, plain (or thin, plain cow milk yogurt)
  • 3 T cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh lemon, juiced (optional)

Instructions

To make the paneer (do this in the morning):

  • On the stovetop, bring the milk to 180°F while whisking occasionally. Use a candy thermometer to ensure that you are getting the right temperature.
  • Once it reaches 180°F, take the milk off of the heat and stir in the lemon juice right away. You should begin to see the yellowish whey separating from the curds immediately.
  • Allow the curds and whey to cool at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes.
  • Line a colander with a double-layer of cheesecloth. Put the colander in a large bowl. Pour the curds and whey into the lined colander. Let drain for 5 minutes. The curds will stay in the cloth while the whey will drain into the bowl. (The whey can be discarded or saved to be used in another recipe.)
  • Gather up the edges of the cheesecloth so that the curds are collected into a tight ball. With clean hands, squeeze the ball gently over the sink to release more whey. If you are concerned about a lemony taste remaining, you can run the ball under gently running water and squeeze again, if desired.
  • Unwrap the cheesecloth. Put the cheese into a cheese press in an even layer.
    Unpressed paneer
  • Press the cheese for 30 minutes. It should form into a firmer block.
    Pressed paneer
  • Refrigerate the cheese for several hours until ready to use. It will firm up even more in the fridge.

To make the palak paneer:

  • Cook the brown rice in water according to package directions. It will take approximately 45 minutes. Work on the rest of the recipe while the rice cooks.
  • Cut your paneer into cubes. Sprinkle the cubes with the turmeric, garam masala, and salt. I yielded about 13 ounces of paneer and used it all in this recipe.
  • Melt 1.5 T of ghee in a skillet over medium heat. Brown the paneer for approximately 5 minutes, gently turning as it cooks. Remove the browned paneer from the skillet and set aside.
  • Puree the spinach in the food processor. Set it aside while you work on the rest of the dish.
  • Melt the final 1 T of ghee in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeno, ginger, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently until the onion is softened. It will take approximately 10 minutes.
  • Add the cumin, coriander, tomato, and 2T of water to the onion mixture. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the spinach and ½ c of water to the onion mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Most of the water should evaporate. Turn the heat on the skillet off.
  • Stir the yogurt into the spinach mixture. Then gently stir in the paneer. Garnish with the cilantro and optional lemon juice, and serve over the rice.

Notes


This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). This is not the lightest dinner option since it has a lot of cheese. You could try reducing the saturated fat here by using skim milk to make the paneer. (I’m not guaranteeing that this change won’t impact the taste, though.)
For those who lean towards lower carb eating, skipping the rice is the obvious choice. On the other hand, if you want to add a little more energy to the meal, add a condiment. My husband sweetened his dish up with a little mango-ginger chutney, which he said was a nice touch.

Nutrition

Calories: 669kcal
Keywords brown rice, cheese, cheese making, dairy, easy palak paneer recipe, gluten-free, Indian, palak paneer, paneer, spinach, vegetables, vegetarian
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