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Palak Paneer/Saag Paneer

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4.5 from 2 reviews

A bowl of warm Palak Paneer over rice or served with warm buttery naan or roti is Indian comfort at its best. I prefer the paneer straight up but if you like it fried, pan-fry them in a little oil and toss them in the sauce.

  • Yield: 4


1 lb/455 g fresh baby spinach leaves

2 Tbsp water

1 medium onion, diced /150 g

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

3 Tbsp/45 ml ghee, unsalted butter, or extra-virgin olive oil

One 2 in/5 cm piece cinnamon stick

1 Tbsp ground coriander

1 ½ tsp garam masala homemade or store-bought

1 tsp whole cumin seeds

¼ to ½ tsp ground cayenne

1 tsp kasoori methi (optional)

¼ cup/60 g plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt

Fine sea salt

8 oz or 1 lb/230 g or 455 g paneer, cut into 1 in/2.5 cm cubes (See The Cook’s Notes)


  1. Place the spinach leaves with the water in a medium Dutch oven or saucepan over low heat. Cover with a lid and let cook until the leaves wilt completely and release their liquid, stirring occasionally to prevent the leaves from sticking and burning to the bottom of the pot, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully transfer the spinach with the liquid to a blender or food processor. Wipe the Dutch oven clean.
  2. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic and pulse over high speed until silky smooth.
  3. Heat 2 Tbsp of the ghee in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, coriander, garam masala, cumin, and cayenne and sauté until the spices turn fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the puréed spinach mixture and kasoori methi, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to low, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Fold in or whisk in the yogurt, return to the stove and simmer over low heat. Taste and season with salt. The consistency of the gravy should be thick, if you prefer it thinner add a little water, a Tbsp at a time.
  4. Fold in the paneer and simmer until the paneer turns soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Taste one piece of paneer with the sauce, and season with salt if needed. Top with the remaining 1 Tbsp of ghee (I prefer butter here) and serve hot or warm with rice or flatbread like naan.


  • You can use frozen spinach, but I’ve found fresh spinach always gives a bright shade of brilliant green. Remember to thaw it and adjust the water accordingly.
  • When it comes to preparing dishes like palak paneer, I’ve noticed spinach behaves just like potatoes. It sucks up flavors and for that reason, you might need to add a bit more salt and cayenne when flavoring the dish.
  • Kasoori methi or dried fenugreek leaves are classically used to make this dish. You will find this at Indian grocery stores or online. If you can’t get your hands on some, it’s fine, I skip it sometimes too since I don’t always keep it in stock. A tiny amount goes a long way.
  • You might be wondering why I’ve listed 8 oz/230g and 1 lb/455g options for paneer in this recipe. If you’re serving this as a side for 4 people, 8 oz/230g of paneer will be enough but if this is meant to be a main dish or the only dish you make, then I recommend using 1 lb/455g of paneer for 4 people The amount of gravy here is enough for both purposes. Some people tend to like it with more paneer (me) and others with more gravy. This recipe gives you enough room for adjustment.
  • Be careful, when adding the yogurt to the gravy. Yogurt can curdle easily, and fat-free yogurt falls apart very easily on heating. To avoid this, use full-fat or at least 5% fat Greek yogurt, and add it after removing the pot from the stove.
  • You can pan-fry the paneer cubes instead of adding them directly to the gravy. To do this, fry the paneer in batches in ¼ cup/60 ml of neutral oil like grapeseed (olive oil will also work) till golden brown all over. Drain on kitchen paper towels and then add them to the gravy.

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