Palak Paneer

or fetta/tofu/tempeh

Shop Ingredients
Serves 4


3 tbsp sunflower oil/ghee
1 tbsp coriander seeds
3 cardamom pods or ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom (freshly ground is best)
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 inch piece ginger, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 green chilli roughly sliced
450 grams spinach – one big bunch as about 350g so we added a few silverbeet leaves too (no stems)!
1/2 cup water or as needed
3/4-1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste
1/2 cup of coconut milk or 1/4 cup heavy cream, start with these amounts and add as your taste buds desire!
225 grams paneer/ firm fetta/firm tofu/tempeh cut into cubes

For the Chonk
2 tbsp sunflower oil/ghee/butter/coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida* (optional)
¼ tsp red chilli powder

* ‘Asafoetida is the most simultaneously misunderstood and sublime ingredient in Indian cuisine. It is essentially a gum resin extracted from ferula, an herb in the celery family. It is usually available as a coarse yellow powder and smells like boiled eggs because of its sulfur compounds—which explains one of its other nicknames, devil’s dung. But don’t be put off by the pungency. When used properly, a pinch supercharges every other spice in the pan, like salt but in a funkier way (and without any sodium). I don’t know how else to put it except to say that to me, it makes Indian food taste more Indian.’ – Priya Krishna. You can find Asafoedita in your local Indian Grocer or in the better stocked grocery store spice sections.


Does it get any greener than this? Palak paneer is a comforting Indian meal with a whole bunch of spinach in it (love). To take this dish to the next level we made the paneer from scratch, it’s easy and so satisfying to do, hhowever, tempeh, firm tofu or firm fetta are all delicious store bought options! We took most of our inspiration from Priya Krishna, with essential elements added from Tarla Dalal, Manali Singh and Karan Gokani. We suggest making a double batch for left overs!

Palak Paneer (or fetta/tofu/tempeh)

In a large, deep pan over medium heat, warm the sunflower oil/ghee. Once it shimmers, add the coriander seeds and cardamom pods and toast the spices until fragrant and starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes more.

Add the spinach, a large handful at a time, and cook until just wilted and still bright green. Don’t overcook the greens!

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in half the lime juice, chilli and season with salt. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend into a paste, we added about 1/2 a cup of water to loosen the mix – you can go full puree or more chunky, totally up to you. Return the mixture to the same pan over low heat. Add the garam masala, turmeric powder and the coconut milk/cream, stir to combine, then gently stir in the until the paneer/fetta/tempeh/tofu*. Cook for 5 minutes more, until the paneer/fetta/tempeh/tofu is warmed through and has soaked up some of the sauce.

For the chonk
While the paneer/fetta/tempeh/tofu cooks, in a small pan over a medium-high heat, melt the sunflower oil/ghee/butter/coconut oil. Add the cumin seeds, and once they start to brown and dance around in the pan, about 1 minute, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the asafoetida, if using, and red chilli powder.

Pour the mixture over the curry sauce, and serve with rice or roti.

*if you are using tempeh, we recommend first steaming it in a fry pan with enough water to cover the bottom for 10 mins, this helps reduce the bitterness. We also like to fry the tempeh or tofu to add another textual element.


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