December 3, 2012

Zero Oil Palak Paneer | Cottage cube chunks in spinach gravy

Paneer is often a very favoured ingredient in my pantry, thanks to my daughter loving it immensely. Blogging Marathon with the challenge of "Zero Oil Cooking" brought out this popular dish in a zero oil avatar. We found absolutely no difference in the taste, and in fact loved it more thus. Traditionally paneer is shallow or deep fried and added to the simmering spinach gravy. But I just tossed the cubes on a dry pan (you need to keep flipping them from time to time) and also dry roasted the blanched tomatoes for the gravy. 

I experimented with a mixture of baby spinach and normal spinach for this and used a handful of peas, and the dish was totally filling with Chapatis and some salad. With the winters upon us, am sure more greens and fresh veggies along with crunch salads would appear at our dinner table. Now, lets get to the recipe.

Prep time : 20 mins | Cook time : 15 mins | Serves : 4
Difficulty Level : Medium
Serving suggestions : Kalonji Naan / Butter Kulcha / Phulka or any Indian bread.

  • Baby Spinach - 1/2 cup (packed loose)
  • Normal Spinach - 1.25 cup (packed tight)
  • Panner / Cottage Cheese - 200 gms - cubed
  • Fresh or frozen peas - 2 handfuls
  • Salt - to taste
  • Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
  • Dry masala (Each 1 tsp) : Amchur (Dry mango powder), Garam Masala, Red Chilli powder, Kitchen King, Jeera Powder, Coriander powder

  • Onions - 2 medium
  • Tomatoes - 2 large
  • Cashewnuts - 5 to 6
  • Garlic - 2 pods
  • Ginger - 1/2 inch
  • Shahjeera - 1/4 tsp

Clean and blanch spinach leaves for 3 mins in boiling water. Remove to a dish with ice cold water. Let it remain there for 5 mins. Drain.
Similarly blanch and peel the tomatoes & peas. Roughly chop tomatoes into medium chunks
Soak cashews in warm water for 5 mins
In a dry pan, saute onions, garlic and ginger till the onions turn pinkish brown (about 5 mins). Ensure you do this on a medium-low flame. Cool. Grind the sauteed onions, garlic, ginger with the cashew, tomatoes and shahjeera to a fine paste.
In a non stickpan, toss the paneer cubes till they slightly brown on the sides, about 4 - 6 mins.
Again heat a non stick pan, add the gravy, salt, dry masala powders and let it simmer till the raw smell disappears. Gently slide in the sauteed paneer cubes, check for salt. Let the gravy simmer for further 2 - 3 mins.
Serve hot with Rotis / Naan or Kulcha for a complete protein rich experience. 

Linking it to Blogging Marathon # 23 under "Zero Oil Cooking". Check out other Marathoners here. Also linking to Cook n Bake Spinach by UK Rasoi & Quick n Easy Recipes by Ammaji


  1. Great side for chapati...

  2. Spinach and cheese both are completely healthy meal.... awesome... in color and for health too

  3. Wat a heathy combo.. with roti....

  4. Colour looks excellent Kalyani, will surely be bookmarking this theme..:)

  5. sounds healthy and delicious :)

  6. lovely dish... looks delish

  7. My daughter loves Paneer too and i am def going to try this healthy version!!!

  8. An all time fav for me :) Fantastic ~ Pallavi

  9. First of all I love the gorgeous color and how you made it so healthy is wonderful


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