Saag Paneer


We love Saag Paneer, an Indian dish made with spinach and fried cubes of paneer, a soft Indian cheese. This recipe was pretty “do-able” with ingredients we could find locally. We’ll be making this again for sure!


For the cheese:

paneer (about 24 small pieces, the amount yielded by this paneer recipe)

about ¼ cup all-purpose flour

vegetable oil for frying (3-4 Tablespoons or more for a larger frying pan)

For the spinach:


2 pounds spinach (or other similar dark green vegetable)

For the sauce:

1 two-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

4 cloves of garlic

½ skinny, spicy dark green pepper (partially seeded for less heat)

2 bunches fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon + 1 teaspoon salt, divided

¾ cup plain yogurt

¼ cup water

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

Directions and Notes:

1. First, fry the cheese:

-Cut the cheese into ¾ inch cubes and toss in the flour until well-coated.

-Heat vegetable oil about ½ inch deep in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat.

-When the oil is warm, add the cheese and fry, turning occasionally until the cheese is golden brown. Drain the cheese and set it aside.

2. Cook the spinach:

-Boil a pot of salted water.

-Cook the spinach for about 30 seconds and remove it with a slotted spoon. Put it in a bowl of salted ice water.

-Drain the spinach and squeeze it dry.

-Chop into roughly ½” ribbons and set aside.

3. Make the sauce:

-Pulse the ginger, garlic, pepper, cilantro, cumin, turmeric, and ½ teaspoon of the salt in a food processor until it forms a paste, finely chopped.

-In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, ¼ cup water, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

4. Heat 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large frying pan or pot over medium high heat.

5. Add the onion and cook it until it is a deep golden brown and fragrant, approximately 4-5 minutes.

6. Add the ginger mixture and cook, stirring for about 2-3 minutes until it is toasted and fragrant. (Add a little water if the mixture starts sticking at any point.)

7. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add ½ cup water and the cooked spinach. Stir until the mixture is heated through, about 2-3 minutes.

8. Stir in the yogurt mixture and simmer gently until the mixture is slightly thickened, roughly 5 minutes. (If you’re working with a thin yogurt or if the mixture seems runny for any reason and is not thickening, you can add a small amount of a corn starch-water mixture… probably not an authentic Indian cooking technique, but it works!)

9. Add the fried paneer and cook the mixture for about another minute.

10. Season with more salt to taste.

Recipe adapted from: Food Network


2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Paneer | EmbracingChina

  2. Pingback: Indian Buffet & Double-Feature Movie Night | EmbracingChina

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