Sunday, December 2, 2012

Indian Creamed Spinach (fake Palak Paneer)

Palak paneer is one of my favorite Indian dishes. It's basically creamed spinach with curry spices and paneer, a fresh non-melting cheese. A much more interesting way to eat your spinach than traditional creamed spinach. I made up this really simple recipe to approximate the flavors of palak paneer at home, using basic ingredients. I decided to leave out the paneer, because I would either have to go buy it at an Indian grocery or make it myself (there are neat recipes for homemade paneer on the web.) To me, the best part is the creamy curried spinach, anyway.

I threw this together years ago and brought it to a Thanksgiving hosted by friends on the West coast, then we moved to the East coast for four years. When we moved back West and reunited for our first Thanksgiving with our old friends in four years, they were still requesting this dish. For all the fuss, it's embarrassingly simple.

Indian Creamed Spinach
Indian Creamed Spinach in my friend's beautiful cookware, ready for Thanksgiving
2 t butter
2 t cumin
1 t coriander
1 t turmeric
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t powdered ginger
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t cardamom
2 lbs thawed frozen chopped spinach
crushed red pepper or cayenne to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 cup cream or half and half (depending on how decadent you want to be)
1/2-1 t sugar (To taste. You're not trying to make it taste sweet, you're just going to mellow out the spice a bit.)

In a medium-large saucepan, toast spices in butter for a minute, stirring frequently. Add spinach, cover, and simmer, 7-10 minutes. Lower heat to low and add remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve.


  1. Well, now that the secret is out, we don't need you to come back next year. Just kidding! As much as we love this dish, we love your company even more. If you make the drive again next year, you will have to make twice as much because I almost didn't get any!


  2. Yeah, I guess I've just made myself unnecessary at Thanksgiving! How about this, I'll bring some, and you can make a back-up batch in case we run out!