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Spinach Paneer (Saag Paneer)

Posted on 02/17/2021 at 11:42 AM by Madhu Gadia

Spinach Paneer (Saag Paneer)


Whether or not you like spinach, 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 I make 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
1 1/2 cups paneer, cubed
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 blender jar add the cooled spinach mixture and coarsely grind. Do not over grind. you want it to be coarse. 

  4. Return the coarsely ground spinach to the skillet and stir in the besan mixture. 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.

  5. 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. 

  6. 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 and cook for a few seconds, until brown. 

  7. 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
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