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  • Writer's pictureElan Dakota Halpern

Palak Paneer

This vegetarian dish is destined to please! Remember that paneer must be prepped the night before cooking and serving.

Serves 60, Prep Time 30 mins, Total Time 90 mins



5 gallons whole milk

1 1/2 cups lemon juice

Triple-layered cheesecloth

Hotel pan sized strainer

2 heavy boxes


4 to 6 bags spinach

1 lb. ginger

1/2 lb garlic

1/2 lb serrano chiles

4 fresh bay leaves

4 large sweet yellow onion, diced

1/4 cup cumin seeds

4 to 5 tomatoes, diced

a few pinches tumeric

a few pinches garam masala

3 cups heavy cream



1. In a large bottom pot heat milk over low to medium heat slowly, stirring constantly to avoid sticking, until milk reaches a boil.

2. Add the lemon juice and immediately lower heat to very low.

3. Stirring carefully only around the edges in a circular motion continue to stir until a large curd starts to form in the middle of the surface of the milk.

4. At this point the milk should separate and the liquid underneath the curd should look almost a greenish color. ( this is normal )

5. After stirring carefully app. 3 to 5 mins pour the liquid and curd through a triple cheesecloth layered hotel pan strainer.

6. Very Important. . .rinse the curd carefully with cool water to remove all of the lemon flavor.

7. pull surrounding cheesecloth up and over the rest of the curd.

8. At this point you should have app. 5 lbs of curd.

9. press curd to remove as much liquid as possible and to form into as tight of a brick as you can.

10. place another hotel pan over the curd and weigh down with weights. let press at least overnight, unwrap and cut into cubes.


1. In a large pot bring water to a boil. once boiling turn heat off and let sit 5 mins. add spinach to pot and cover unheated for 5 mins. shock spinach in ice water and strain.

2. in a blender or using an immersion blender blend together the spinach, garlic, ginger, and serrano chiles

3. in a large bottom pot, heat a 1/2 cup of oil and add the cumin seeds

4. stir cumin seeds for app 2 to 3 mins until they start popping and toasting IMPORTANT ( letting the cumin seeds toast brings great flavor, but 1 second too long and they will taste horrible)

5. keep the onions ready and at the exact moment the cumin is ready throw the onions into the pan, this will keep the cumin from burning and turning bitter

6. add the bay leaves and sautee 6 to 10 mins until onions are soft

7. add turmeric and stir in toasting for 1 min

8. add tomatoes and sautee an additional 2 to 3 mins

9. add spinach puree and cook down over medium heat for app20 mins stirring constantly

10. add garam masala and the diced paneer cubes to the dish and let simmer 5 to 10 mins until cubes are soft and have soaked flavor

11. Finish with heavy cream and serve with basmati rice and garlic naan

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