Recipe: American-Style Saag Paneer

This recipe is a little less spicy than traditional Indian saag paneer, and uses easy-to-find ingredients. It’s likely to become a family favorite!


  • 1-2 Tbsp. homemade curry powder (ingredients and steps below)
  • 1/3 cup ghee
  • 8-12 ounces freshly made paneer
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained to remove excess liquid, or 2 pounds fresh baby spinach, chopped, lightly steamed, and drained well
  • 1 cup thick homemade yogurt
  • Cooked basmati rice
  • 2 Tbsp. coriander seeds (for curry powder)
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin seeds (for curry powder)
  • 1 Tbsp. cardamom seeds (for curry powder)
  • 1 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns (for curry powder)
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds (for curry powder)
  • 4 whole cloves (for curry powder)
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds (for curry powder)
  • 2 dried red chilies (omit for a milder curry powder)
  • 1 Tbsp. 1 tablespoon powdered turmeric (for curry powder)


  1. Make curry powder. (steps 2-4 below)
  2. Add the spices (not the chilies) to a dry skillet and toast over medium heat until fragrant, but not browned.
  3. Remove from heat and cool. Stir in the chilies if using, broken into pieces with seeds discarded. Place mixture in a coffee or spice grinder and blend until powdered.
  4. Stir in turmeric.
  5. Melt ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut paneer into ½-inch cubes and sauté in hot ghee until golden brown on each side. Turn the pieces of paneer carefully to avoid having scrambled paneer. Remove paneer from skillet, drain on a paper towel and set aside. Leave remaining ghee in skillet.
  6. Add onions, garlic, and ginger to ghee in skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until onions are tender. Place in blender container and blend to a paste-like consistency. Put back into skillet and stir in 1-2 tablespoons curry powder, to taste.
  7. Add spinach to spice paste and gently heat over medium heat until hot. Stir in reserved paneer. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt. Serve over hot basmati rice.

Use immediately or store in a tightly covered jar for up to 1 month.

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