Spinach with Paneer and Yogurt

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Spinach with Paneer and YogurtThe chickpea flour “roux” thickens and flavors the yogurt sauce and keeps it from separating, but regular flour works too. If you can’t find paneer (an Indian food store is your best bet), substitute mozzarella or feta. Serve this with the basic version of Rice Pilaf (page 372) or Biryani (page 375), with some Raw Onion Chutney (page 668) on the side.
Other vegetables you can use: beet greens, chard, kale

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • 1 pound spinach, rinsed well and trimmed of large stems
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup chickpea or all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala or curry powder (to make your own, see pages 648–649)
  • 2 cups yogurt (preferably whole milk)
  • 8 ounces paneer, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 1½ cups)
How to Make It
  1. Boil and shock the spinach (see page 150); drain well and coarsely chop. Put the oil and flour in a large pot, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring frequently, until the flour darkens a bit and becomes fragrant, about 5 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary to keep it from scorching.
  2. Stir in the garam masala, then whisk in the yogurt. Raise the heat a bit and cook, stirring frequently, until the yogurt has heated through and thickened slightly, a couple of minutes. Fold in the spinach and cheese. Cook and stir until hot, another couple of minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve.
  3. SPINACH WITH TOFU AND COCONUT MILK Dairy-free: Replace the paneer with cubed extra-firm tofu and the yogurt with 2 cups coconut milk. Proceed with the recipe, covering the pan when you heat the tofu in the mixture so it can warm through.

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