Many a times when I have had palak paneer, in a restaurant or elsewhere, I couldn't help noticing the difference in the shades of green this dish comes in. Cooking the dish for an extra few minutes can slowly deepen it's colour. Some like to cook the palak minimally to retain it's colour while some overcook it to make it a lot darker (unknowingly so). Some add milk or cream which makes the colour lighter while others prefer to just go by water. Though I like all the different shades (because I love palak paneer), I invariably tend to overcook the dish, probably because in the back of my mind I like the colour to ripen from a rich emerald to a deep olive green.
2 bunches palak
1" piece ginger
3 tbsp oil or ghee
1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
3 medium onions
2 tsp ginger garlic paste (or crushed garlic and ginger)
1 large tomato
1 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
200g paneer, chopped into 1" cubes
Wash palak (discard the stems) and boil with ginger in half a cup of water for a few minutes. Allow to cool. Drain the water out but reserve it.
In a deep bottomed pan, heat oil/ ghee. When it's hot, add cumin seeds. Once the seeds splutter, sauté chopped onions. Add crushed garlic and ginger or their paste and sauté till the onions turn brownish. Now add the powders and roast for a couple of minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes till tomatoes are cooked. Allow to cool.
Transfer half of this into a blender. Add the boiled palak also into the blender. Blend into a smooth paste. Transfer this back to the earlier deep bottomed pan. Mix the blended paste with the rest of the sautéed onion mixture. Add the reserved water and bring to a boil. Add enough water to get a gravy like consistency. You can also add a couple of tablespoons of milk or cream. Add salt and bring to a boil. Now add the paneer cubes. You can fry paneer before adding. I did not fry. Cook for a few minutes.
Tastes best with rotis / chapatis.