Palak Paneer, or Saag Paneer is a popular north-Indian curry made by cooking soft paneer (Indian cottage cheese), in a healthy and spiced spinach gravy.
The pureed spinach provides a creamy base for this flavorful paneer curry, which is cooked with fresh onions, ginger garlic, tomato and seasoned with garam masala, coriander and cumin.
It is rich in flavor and is a staple in all Indian restaurants. This is my mom’s famous recipe — which means it’s wicked good 🙂
Another quick ‘n’ easy 30-minute meal from my family to yours!
Variations: Palak Tofu (Vegan) or Palak Chicken
You can make this recipe Vegan by swapping out the paneer with Extra-Firm Tofu. Follow the recipe exactly, just switch out the paneer with cubed tofu pieces.
You can replace paneer with chicken, and make Palak Chicken.
If using chicken, use boneless skinless breast or thighs, cut in 1 inch pieces and add it to the pot in step 1, before closing the lid.
When done, wait for 5 minutes and release the pressure.
Remove chicken pieces after pressure cooking and then add the spinach.
Continue with the rest of the instructions. Add the chicken back after pureeing the spinach curry.
I made this recipe in my Instant Pot 6 Qt, but it can be made on a stove-top too. Check out “Stove-top” instructions below.
Stove-Top Recipe for Saag Paneer
Heat a deep sauce pan on medium high heat. Since spinach puree tends to splash when simmering, using a deep sauce pan prevents it from messing the cooktop.
Add oil and cumin seeds. When cumin seeds begin to sizzle, add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds. Sliced onion and green chili go in now, sauté for a minute. Add tomatoes, salt and dry spices and stir well. Then, add 1/2 cup water, stir, cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.
Open the lid and add 1/2 bag of baby spinach and stir to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining spinach and wilt for around 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Using a hand blender puree the spinach mix.
Turn on heat to medium, add paneer cubes and simmer for 30 sec- 1 min, till paneer cubes become soft. Turn off the heat. Stir in butter, this adds a silky smooth finish to the sauce, and gives it a gorgeous shine.
Tip for Pureeing Spinach Without Painting your Kitchen Green 🙂
Hand Blenders are great when you want to puree a sauce and get a velvety smooth finish. But, unless the quantity is enough to submerge the blender-head in the sauce, they tend to splash the sauce all over.
To avoid that, I transfer the spinach mix to a tall measuring cup, or the jar that came with my hand blender set. I puree the spinach in that and there are no splashes at all.
Enjoy a Delicious Indian Vegetarian Meal!
Here are some popular pairings with Palak Paneer. Usually, we have Palak Paneer with Cumin Basmati Rice or Naan.
You can pair it with Brown Jasmine rice as well.
It’s one of those meals that I long for when I’ve been away from home traveling.
|Cumin Rice||Brown Jasmin Rice|
Toor Dal Tadka (Split Pigeon Peas)
Some more Popular Paneer Recipes
|Paneer Butter Masala||Paneer Tikka Masala|
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Palak Paneer is a popular North Indian Punjabi curry made by cooking soft paneer (Indian cottage cheese), in a healthy and tasty spinach gravy.
- 10-12 oz. bag of baby spinach
- 10 oz. block of paneer cubed in 1/2 inch pieces (Costco or Indian grocery store)
- 1 tablespoon ghee or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste 1/2 inch ginger + 3 cloves garlic
- 1 small onion sliced
- 1 green chili
- 2 medium tomatoes chopped (about 1 cup), OR 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon butter (optional)
Turn on the Instant Pot on SAUTE. Wait 30 seconds for it to heat up. Add oil and cumin seeds. When cumin seeds begin to sizzle, add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds. Add sliced onion and green chili, and sauté for a minute. Add tomatoes, sauté for 30 seconds. Then, add salt and dry spices and stir well. Add 1/4-1/2 cup water and stir. Close the lid. Set pressure valve to SEALING. Cook on MANUAL for 2 minutes.
Release the pressure immediately (QR). Turn on SAUTE. Add the bag of baby spinach and stir to wilt. It takes around 3-4 minutes. Turn off IP. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the spinach mix. I prefer to use the food processor to avoid splatters of spinach.
Pour the spinach puree back in IP. Turn on SAUTE. Add paneer cubes and stir for 30 seconds- 1 minute, till paneer cubes become soft. Turn IP off. Stir in butter, this brings the dish to life and gives it a shine. Serve hot with Jeera rice or naan. Enjoy!