Saag Paneer

Saag Paneer

  • Servings: 6
  • Rating:


2 Tbsp high-heat oil, such as coconut or grapeseed
12 ounces paneer, cut into cubes or triangles (large pieces make for a more dramatic presentation, but smaller pieces may be easier to eat)
1 tsp cumin seeds
large pinch asafoetida*
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp chili powder (I omitted for my pepper-free friend)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 cups tomato puree
1" ginger, peeled and grated
1 tsp coarse salt
2 bunches spinach, washed and finely chopped (you can pulse in a food processor)
2 Tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (optional -- available at Indian groceries)
1 half bunch cilantro, divided, washed and finely chopped
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup half-and-half or cream


Heat a pan over a medium-high heat, and add the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the paneer cubes, and fry for a few minutes until they just begin to color, then flip and brown the other side. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, coriander, and chili powder to the pan, and fry for a half minute or so to toast (the cumin seeds should darken). Add the turmeric, tomato puree, ginger and salt (the tomato puree will probably sputter and spit, so step back a bit), stirring to combine. Cook for a few minutes, until the tomato puree reduces somewhat.

When the mixture has cooked down a bit, ad the spinach, fenugreek leaves, and half of the cilantro. Let the mixture come to something of a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let cook for ~25 minutes (you can cook for less time if you're in a hurry, but the long-cooked approach leads to a nice creamy result). Stir occasionally, and add liquid if it dries out.

When the mixture has cooked down, stir together the flour with a bit of the cream or half-and-half to make a paste, then whisk in the remainder of the cup. Stir this mixture into the spinach, and let simmer for a few minutes, until the dish thickens and comes together. Add the reserved paneer cubes, and let heat through. Taste to adjust seasonings, and serve, topped with remaining cilantro.