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Spinach Paneer (Saag Paneer)

Posted on February 17, 2021 at 11:42 AM by Madhu Gadia

Spinach Paneer (Saag Paneer


Whether you like spinach or not, this dish is a must-try. Palak is spinach, and paneer is fresh cheese. For convenience, I always use frozen spinach for this recipe. It's one of my favorite dishes and I often make it for parties. I never put cream in it. Actually, until I ate this dish in restaurants, I didn't know it was made with cream. Trust me; you will not miss the cream in this Saag Paneer. 

I used to make paneer before, but now I keep frozen paneer as a staple in my freezer. Paneer is readily available in most Indian grocery stores today, and in large cities, it may be available at Cosco.


1 pound spinach, fresh or frozen (chopped)
1 small onion, cut into 4 pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
1 cup water, divided
1 tablespoon besan
1 1/2 cups paneer, cubed (frozen or homemade)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or ghee
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2-4 dried red chilies (optional)


  1. In a heavy skillet, mix the spinach, onion, ginger, salt, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a lid, and steam for 5 minutes or until greens are soft. Set aside to cool.

  2. Thaw paneer, if using frozen, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. In a small skillet, add just enough water to cover the paneer and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. (If using homemade paneer, you will not need to boil it.) Drain just before adding to the spinach mixture. 

  3. In a small bowl, mix besan and 2 tbsp water, breaking any besan lumps. Set aside.

  4. In a blender jar, add the cooled spinach mixture and coarsely grind. Do not over-grind. You want it to be coarse. 

  5. Return the coarsely ground spinach to the skillet and stir in the besan mixture and remaining water. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat until spinach is simmering. (VERY IMPORTANT: Before stirring, remove the skillet from the heat and carefully remove the lid. The spinach tends to splatter and can burn.) Reduce heat and simmer for 20–30 minutes. A longer cooking time adds flavor to the spinach.

  6. Remove spinach from the heat, add paneer, and stir. Cover with a lid and return to the stove. Continue to simmer for 8–10 minutes. Remove from the heat. 

  7. To prepare chounk (seasoning): In a separate small fry pan, heat oil on medium heat, add cumin seeds, and cook for a few seconds until seeds turn golden brown. Remove from heat, add dried red chilies, if using, cook for a few seconds until chilies change color. 

  8. Carefully remove the lid, add the seasoning to the spinach, stir and cover. Let stand until ready to serve. 

Makes 8 servings (4 cups)
Serving size: 1/2 cup

Amount per serving:  Calories: 140, Carbohydrate: 5 g, Protein: 11 g, Fat: 9 g, Sat. Fat: 5 g, Chol: 25 mg, Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g, Sodium: 490 mg

From: New Indian Home Cooking by Madhu Gadia, RD
Sanjana, thank you for letting me know. I corrected the recipe. Enjoy
Madhu Gadia | 8/7/21 at 10:01 AM
What is the besan mixture that is referenced in the directions? It is not in the ingredients list.
Sanjana Sharma | 8/6/21 at 10:47 PM
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