Palak Paneer (Spinach with Paneer Cheese)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Palak Paneer

Palak paneer (or saag paneer) is a very popular North Indian dish that regularly appears on menus throughout the world. Succulent pieces of paneer cheese are served up with creamy cooked spinach and a blend of spices. I adore this dish and as with most dishes that can be enjoyed at restaurants, there is nothing finer than making your own version at home.

There is a subtle difference between the terms palak and saag, though this dish is sometimes served as palak paneer and at other times as saag paneer. Palak means spinach, whereas saag can mean any mixture of greens, which can include spinach but also mustard greens and fenugreek leaves for example. There are many variations of the dish and I've provided a straightforward one that takes very little time to make and pairs well with other dishes. No matter what you wish to call it, this favorite is popular for a reason. Just try it and see and experiment according to your tastes.

Palak Paneer (Spinach with Paneer Cheese)Palak Paneer (Spinach with Paneer Cheese)
Recipe by
Cuisine: North Indian
Published on October 23, 2018

Classic North Indian dish of cooked spinach with spices and fried paneer cheese

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 to 40 minutes

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  • 5 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 14 oz (400 g) paneer cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-inch fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 3 fresh red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 lbs (900 g) fresh spinach, washed, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the ghee or oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the cubes of paneer cheese and fry, flipping the cubes often, until golden brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain.

  • Heat the remaining ghee or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add the ginger, garlic and chilies, and stir for another few minutes. Now add the cumin seeds and spices, and continue to stir for another minute or two or until fragrant.

  • Now stir in the tomato and add the spinach a few handfuls at a time, stirring often, and adding more spinach gradually, until all of the spinach is added and wilted. Sprinkle in a few teaspoons of water if needed.

  • Stir in the fried pieces of paneer cheese and salt, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring often.

  • Stir in the lemon juice, cover and let sit for a few minutes before serving.

  • Serve hot with Indian flat breads, fresh cooked basmati rice, and a soup on the side.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Spinach with Paneer Cheese

Other paneer dishes to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Aloo Palak Paneer Pie
Curried Red Kidney Beans with Paneer (Paneer Rajma)
Butter Paneer Masala (Cheese Cubes Smothered in a Spicy Tomato Gravy)
Classic Mattar Paneer

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Shaheen said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to join in Lisa. I am sorry to read that you have been unwell, I do sincerely hope that you are much better. I did come by a few weeks ago to see who was hosting MLLA and noted you lack of blogging, understandable and I am glad you are back to blogging. Warm wishes.

The VegHog said...

I just adore Palak Paneer, it's so perfect for the current weather. Thank you for taking part in Eat Your Greens!