Saag Paneer

Based on a recipe from an Indian cookbook that Jeff Cohen has.


  • 1lb spinach
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 7 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 200g/7oz diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp tomato paste (we recommend buying in tube form)
  • 1/4 lemon of lemon juice
  • 2cm (3/4 in) ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 7oz (1/2 14oz package) paneer, cubed

Spinach: blanche for 2 minutes in boiling water, then refresh in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Finely chop (we usually use a food processor for a short period of time).

Spice mixture: Dry-roast cumin, coriander, and fenugreek in sequence in a small frying pan.

Sauce: put oil in a large frying pan; add garlic, onion, and spice mixture, frying until brown and aromatic. Stir in tomato, garam masala, and ginger, and bring to a boil. Add spinach, lemon juice, and tomato paste, and cook until the liquid is reduced. Fold in the paneer, trying to keep it in whole pieces. Stir gently until heated through, add salt to taste (needs a lot of salt!) and serve.

Useful modifications if not flavorful enough:

  • More lemon juice
  • More tomato paste
  • Add more salt
  • Add more spices

Serves 3-4 person-meals; we could handle about 3x the recipe in our largest pan; 2x is pretty convenient to make given paneer packaging.

Serve with rice; we usually do brown basmati rice.