A light paneer curry is the perfect diner for a busy weeknight. Loaded with crispy bits of paneer, peas, and spinach, this is a healthy paneer curry that counts towards your five a day while being utterly delicious.
I love to make vegetarian and vegan curries, particularly those that are super quick and easy to make, like this Aubergine and Red Lentil Curry or this Green Lentil and Halloumi Curry. They are fabulous options for busy nights and so much better than takeaway.
This light paneer curry is another simple curry that you can whip up in just 30 minutes. It's very easy to make with just a handful of ingredients, and you can serve it with your favourite rice or naan bread (or both!)
I only use one tablespoon of coconut oil to keep this curry light, and you can even make it oil-free if you want by frying the paneer directly on a non-stick pan and sauteeing the onion in a bit of vegetable stock.
What ingredients do you need?
Paneer — an Indian cheese made from curdled milk, paneer is great for vegetarian curries because it doesn't melt and it keeps when cooking. It has a mild flavour that's perfect for absorbing complex and rich Indian spices. You'll need a block of paneer for this curry, which is typically about 200 to 250 grams.
Coconut oil — I like to use coconut oil in curries like this, but canola oil would also work well here.
Onion, garlic, and ginger — these form the base of the curry and you'll fry them in the coconut oil left after frying the paneer. I generally chop the onion and garlic finely in curries, but you can also make them into a paste into a food processor before frying if you don't like to feel bits of onion in the curry sauce.
Spices — I use a mix of ground cumin, mild chilli powder and ground coriander for this curry. You can make it your own by adding some ground turmeric or garam masala. If you want the curry to have a bit of a kick, replace the mild chilli powder with medium or hot chilli powder, or add some crushed chilli flakes.
Crushed tomatoes — Canned tomatoes are fine here. I typically use canned chopped tomatoes that I blitz in a food processor.
Frozen peas — I use frozen peas because I always have a bag handy, but fresh ones would be great, too. Just make sure you cook them a bit longer.
Spinach — Fresh spinach works best in this curry, but frozen is also ok if that's what you have. You can defrost it in the microwave and drain it well before using it in the curry.
How to make paneer curry?
Heat the coconut oil in a large pan and fry the paneer cubes for 4-5 minutes until slightly crispy. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
Add the onion to the same pan and dry it for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened. Stir in the garlic and ginger and continue to cook for another minute until fragrant.
Stir in the spices and crushed tomatoes. Cook for 30 seconds, then add the water and frozen peas. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Add the paneer back to the pan, then add the spinach and continue to simmer for a couple of minutes until it wilts.
Stir in the lemon juice, season to taste, and serve with basmati rice and/or naan bread.
Can you freeze paneer curry?
Yes, paneer curry freezes well. Allow it to cool down completely, place it in air-tight containers and freeze for up to three months. Defrost it overnight in the fridge and reheat it on the hob until piping hot.
If you liked this light paneer curry, have a look at some of my other vegetarian and vegan curries:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 200 g (7 oz) paneer cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 200 ml (1 cup) crushed tomatoes
- 200 ml (1 cup) water
- 100 g (1 cup) frozen peas
- 50 g (2 oz) baby spinach
- ½ lemon, juiced
- Heat the coconut oil in a large pan and fry the paneer cubes for 4-5 minutes until slightly crispy. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
- Add the onion to the same pan and dry it for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened. Stir in the garlic and ginger and continue to cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Stir in the spices and crushed tomatoes. Cook for 30 seconds, then add the water and frozen peas. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the paneer back to the pan, then add the spinach and continue to simmer for a couple of minutes until it wilts.
- Stir in the lemon juice, season to taste, and serve with basmati rice and/or naan bread.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 239Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 508mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 12g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.