Palak Paneer

A flavorful spinach puree stewed with cubes of fresh paneer cheese.

4 servings

Time: 45 mins

By Keith McBrayer

This is the spinach-only version of the classic saag paneer. In Hindi, “Saag” refers to leafy green vegetables in general, while “palak” means spinach.

This recipe breakdown originally appeared in The Mouthful, our weekly food newsletter for the curious home cook.

Keith McBrayer

Keith McBrayer



  • The spices

    • cooking oil
      2 spoonfuls
    • garam masala
      a spoonful
    • kasoori methi
      a spoonful
  • The aromatic base

    • green chilies
      , destemmed
    • tomatoes
      , quartered
    • onions
      , diced
    • fresh ginger
      , minced
      a spoonful
    • garlic
      , minced
      a spoonful
    • salt
      as needed
  • The greens

    • spinach
      450 g
    • water
      as needed
    • salt
      as needed
  • The cheese

    • paneer
      , cubed
      450 g


Step 1: Bloom the spices & aromatics

Set a pot over medium heat. Add the oil and the spices and for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Add in the onion, garlic, and ginger and bloom for another minute or two.

Then come in with the chilies, tomato, and a sprinkle of salt. Continue and moving the aromatics around until the tomato begins to break down and release its juices, which you can use to any stuck bits on the bottom.

  • If anything threatens to burn, lower the heat or add a splash of water to deglaze the pan.

Step 2: Sauté the spinach & blend

Add in the spinach leaves and another pinch of salt. until the spinach has barely wilted down. Cut off the heat and transfer the entire contents of the pot to a blender.

  • Alternatively, use an immersion blender right in the pot.

Add just enough water to blend the mixture until smooth. Pour the blended mixture back into the pot.

Step 3: Combine the cheese & finish

Turn the heat back on and add the cubed paneer. Bring the dish to a light and cook for just 1-2 more minutes to allow the cheese to heat through and absorb some flavor.

  • Stopping cooking retains a green freshness. Some people continue the palak, which will result in the color darkening and taking on a stewed flavor.

Taste the dish. Adjust with more salt as needed. Serve warm.



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