Recipe: Palak Paneer – the Indian dish I never ate in India

A dish that I hoped to eat every time I was in India, is Palak Paneer. I don't know if I've been in the wrong parts of India (Chennai and Bangalore), but the dish has been conspicuous by its absence. However, this does not prevent me from often eating the dish both here at home and in other countries when I travel. In Sri Lanka I ate a really good version, which this recipe reminds me of. I have tried to also make the recipe with my own paneer (cheese), but it takes so much time that these days I buy a good marinated tofu instead. However, the palak sauce with spinach, tomato and coconut milk is absolutely fantastic and can also be used with chicken if you don't like tofu. Who needs take away when the homemade version is sooo much better?

By the way – don't be alarmed by the length of the ingredient list! The same spices come back several times and the procedure is the same for both the spinach and the sauce :) I pretty much freestyle with the spices, you dare! If you think it tastes like too little cumin - add some more! The most important thing is to get a really good, round and tasty coconut/tomato sauce, so season properly!

Ingredients for my Palak Paneer


  • 400 g solid tofu (I buy pre-marinated tofu. If you like tofu - take 600 g! The recipe makes a lot of sauce!)
  • 1 pot fresh coriander
  • Salt
  • Tasteless cooking oil (rape oil type)

The spinach

  • 1 yellow loess
  • 2 clefts garlic
  • 2 cm fresh ginger
  • 500 gram frozen spinach
  • 1 tablespoons black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsk caraway seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoons turmeric
  • Water
  • 1 tablespoons light soy sauce

Tomato/coconut milk sauce

  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 tsk cardamom powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoons turmeric
  • 1 tablespoons frozen cilantro (goes just as well with fresh, but take a little more then!)
  • 2 clefts garlic
  • 5 cm fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1 jar crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can regular coconut milk (not light!)
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 50 g butter

Do this!


  1. Cut the onion into thin strips and fry in butter until soft in a heavy-bottomed pot
  2. Grate ginger and garlic in the frying pan together with the onion until it starts to smell good. Do not burn the spices!
  3. Add all the spices except the coriander and pour in a little water so that you get a fragrant spice cream. Let simmer for a few minutes on low heat without burning
  4. Add the coconut milk, crushed tomatoes, soy, sugar, butter and vegetable stock cube and let cook for 45-60 minutes on low heat.
  5. After 45 minutes, blend the sauce with an immersion blender until it is thick and smooth. Taste. If the sauce doesn't feel "round" enough (depends a lot on the crushed tomatoes!), let it simmer for a while longer or add a pinch of salt/sugar.
  6. Add the coriander

Step 2: THE SPINACH - start with it while the tomato sauce is simmering

  • Cut the onion into thin strips and fry in butter in a frying pan until soft
  • Grate ginger and garlic in the frying pan together with the onion until it starts to smell good. Do not burn the spices!
  • Add the mustard seeds and fry everything until the sesame seeds start to crackle
  • Add the frozen spinach and fry it with the rest of the things in the frying pan until it is thawed
  • Pour in a little water and soy and cook the spinach on a low heat in the frying pan for about 30 minutes, do not let the spinach dry out but add a little water if you see that it is needed. When the spinach changes color and becomes super soft and dark green, it's ready!
  • When both the tomato sauce and the spinach are ready - pour the spinach into the pot with the tomato sauce and let it simmer while you make the tofu.

Step 3: TOFUN

  • Cut the tofu into cubes and add to the frying pan with a little oil
  • Fry the tofu on medium heat, until it has a little color and is not so watery
  • Add the tofu to the tomato sauce and simmer for a few minutes so that it absorbs the flavor.

Ready! Serve with basmati rice and garnish with plenty of fresh coriander!


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Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 60 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel site Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.

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