Everyone loves Palak Paneer, that classic Punjabi Indian curry made with spinach and cheese. But have you tried it with halloumi instead of paneer? Pan frying this wonderful cheese adds a new dimension of texture to this curry and the halloumi is already perfectly salty and seasoned! This is a pushy recipe curry lovers!
What is Palak Paneer? Palak Paneer is a popular North Indian spinach and cheese curry. Palak means spinach and paneer is a type of firm Indian cottage cheese made from cow's milk (traditionally made with buffalo milk). There is also Saag Paneer which is made using a combination of greens like spinach and mustard greens. However since we're replacing paneer with halloumi, a Cypriot cheese made of cow, goat and sheep's milk this is called "Palak Halloumi".
This palak halloumi has a couple more ingredients than other palak paneer recipes but trust me, this pays off in flavour. And pan frying the halloumi is an extra step but that caramelised edge adds a wonderful texture. I had so many people ask me for this recipe and several said that it was tastier than the one at their Indian restaurant!
Is Palak Paneer Healthy? Well there is a lot of spinach and therefore iron in this curry and lots of calcium in the cheese. However the calcium in the cheese limits the amount of iron absorption to around 5%. But there is good news too. The combination of spinach and cheese together reduces the amount of soluble oxalates in spinach and helps to reduce oxalic acid that can cause kidney stones and affects glandular function, connective tissue function and neurological function!
What to serve with Palak Paneer? Roti, naan or steamed rice are great accompaniments to this delicious spinach and cheese curry!
Can you microwave halloumi or this curry? Yes! I made this curry in the afternoon so I could shoot photos of it and I kept it on the bench and that evening we microwaved it for 2-3 minutes and it came out great.
I brought this spinach and cheese curry to Valentina's annual curry night. She holds one annually and had to delay it this year due to COVID-19. When the date for the curry night rolled around the state of Victoria had just started to experience its second wave and we were all waiting nervously to see if and when it would cross the border.
While I was excited I was also nervous and had visions of Bridget Jones and Una's Turkey Curry Buffet. I also had horrible visions of it being a COVID-19 hot spot where people contracted COVID-19 (and could you imagine the awful pun tabloid headlines that would result?).
Everyone had brought a curry along and it was a range of Indian, Thai, Sri Lankan and Malaysian curries. Every curry was absolutely delicious and also very different with no double ups. It was also something that you'd never find in a restaurant as there's no restaurant that makes curries from around the world.
I am looking forward to next year's curry night and once we can all get together again post COVID-19 madness I definitely recommend doing a curry night of your own or at least making this curry.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you like curries? Do you have a favourite one?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Palak Paneer Spinach & Cheese Curry (Made With Halloumi!)
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 5 readers
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
- 500g/1.1lbs. chopped spinach (thawed frozen spinach works fine)
- 50g/1.7ozs. cashews
- 100ml/3.5flozs. water
- 375g/13.2ozs. halloumi, cut into bite sized pieces*
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
- 2.5cm/1inch ginger, peeled and diced
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 chilli, chopped
- 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
I realise that 375g of halloumi is perhaps an irritating amount as it is usually sold in 250g blocks but I felt that 250g was too little and 500g was too much. I just ate the extra halloumi as a snack!
Step 1 - Cook spinach and cashews in the water for 5 minutes until softened. Drain and puree the spinach and cashews and set aside.
Step 2 - Fry the halloumi pieces until golden on both sides adding a little oil to the pan if needed (you won't need much oil). Set aside.
Step 3 - Dry fry the cumin and garam masala in a frypan. Add oil and then add the onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, tomato paste and chilli and fry for 5 minutes. Add the stock and spinach and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the halloumi and serve.