A traditional and easy recipe for Saag Paneer

Saag Paneer Recipe

A traditional, and yet easy, recipe for Saag Paneer.
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Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, vegetarian
Servings 4 servings


Paneer Cheese

  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar or lemon juice
  • cheese cloth

Saag Paneer

  • 20 ounces spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon of each seed:cumin, mustard, coriander
  • 1 cardamom pod crushed
  • 2 tablespoons oil (canola or grape seed oil are best)
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon, cumin, red pepper flakes, garam masala, nutmeg and turmeric
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk


for the paneer cheese:

  • Line a large colander with cheesecloth and set it in your sink or over a bowl.
  • In a medium pot, bring the milk to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning the bottom (a nonstick pot works really well for this purpose). This will take a little while so be patient!
  • Add the lemon juice or vinegar and turn the heat down to low. Stirring gently, you should almost immediately see the curds* (white milk solids) and whey (the liquid) separate. Don't fret, this is what you want!
  • Remove the pot from the heat and carefully pour the contents into the cheesecloth-lined colander. Gently rinse with cool water to get rid of the lemon flavor.
  • Grab the ends of the cheesecloth and twist the ball of cheese to squeeze out the excess whey. Tie the cheesecloth to a wooden spoon and allow the cheese to drain for about 5 minutes.
  • Twisting the ball to compact the cheese into a block, place it on a plate with the twisted part of the cheesecloth on the side (this will ensure your block of cheese is nice and smooth!) and set another plate on top. Weigh the second plate down with something heavy (sriracha or a can of food). Move to the refrigerator and let it sit about 20 minutes.
  • Unwrap your beautiful disc of homemade cheese! You did it!
  • Toast paneer cheese in 2-3 tablespoons of oil. Toast for 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve hot over Saag.

for the Spinach Saag:

  • In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, in a hot pan, toast the seeds, extracting the oils from their pods. Keep seeds in pan after toasted for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Add oil. Once oil is hot add onions and season with salt and pepper. Then, add garlic and ginger. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add ground spices and mix to a paste with the other ingredients.
  • Drop spinach into boiling water. Once wilted (this happens quick so be ready with a slotted spoon), transfer with a slotted spoon to the oil and spice blend. Sauté for just a few minutes then add in coconut milk. Transfer to a blender or a bowl with an immersion blender and puree until smooth.
  • Serve with toasted paneer cheese.


*Cook's Note: If the milk doesn't separate, juice some more lemons and add another tablespoon or two. Boost the heat again and the milk should separate. Stir in a motion that gathers the curds together rather than breaks them up.
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