Saag Paneer

How to Make Saag Paneer

As a country that’s between 20% and 40% vegetarian, it’s unsurprising that India has a wide selection of vegetarian food to choose from. Paneer cheese is a particularly widespread alternative to meat, actively used across South Asian cuisine. Saag Paneer is a classic North Indian dish, which like mutter paneer has made its way firmly onto our plates in the West.

It’s not difficult to see why saag paneer is so universally popular. Though not graced with masses of flavour, paneer is a rich and creamy cheese. As a result it carries flavour beautifully, adding an aspect of luxury to its culinary host.

In Britain ‘saag’ is synonymous with spinach. They are inseparable terms. This isn’t the case in India. If you can lay your hands on some mustard or beetroot greens, for instance, get them in there. Doing so will give your saag paneer recipe a different, unique flavour you’ll not forget in a hurry.

Saag Paneer Recipe

Of course, if a vegetarian curry isn’t quite what you’re looking for, my recipe for Lamb Badam Pasanda is a delicious and simple alternative and it could even be served alongside your saag paneer.

Saag Paneer

Serves 3-4


  • 220g paneer cheese, cubed

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 250g spinach

  • 2 whole dried chillies, slit

  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, ground

  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt


  1. Heat the oil in a large, thick-based frying pan. Cook the paneer until golden brown and set aside, saving the oil in the pan

  2. To prepare the spinach simply place it in a large pan or bowl, cover with boiling water and quickly blanch. Transfer the softened leaves to a food processor and blend until smooth.

  3. In the remaining oil gently saute the slit chillies, ginger and garlic, followed after a minute or so by the cumin.

  4. Tip in the chopped fresh tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes until they have broken down. Incorporate the salt and prepared spinach.

  5. After a further 5 minutes add in the fried cheese, allow it to heat through. Finish the dish with 2 tbsp of natural yoghurt and serve alongside rice and flatbread.

Saag Paneer Recipe Recipe for Saag Paneer

Cost: Paneer is a delicious, creamy ingredient, which makes a frugal alternative to chicken or beef. Spinach is available fresh and cheap year round. As such, this recipe for saag paneer should set you back no more than £3.50. Less than £1 per portion.

41 comments on “Saag Paneer

  1. Jo Blogs
    April 6, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    We are clearly on the same wavelength this week lol! I love me a bit of saag – the canned mustard greens are the way to go I believe according to my friend’s adopted Indian aunty.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2014 at 8:36 am

      I’ll have to keep an eye our for the tinned mustard greens. Any ideas?

  2. Jenny @ BAKE
    April 6, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    I tried saag paneer for the first time last year and was absolutely amazed by it, but it’s never occurred to me to make it myself! thanks for sharing!

  3. movita beaucoup
    April 6, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Whenever I come to your blog, I feel smarter. No lie.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2014 at 8:36 am

      I hope that’s a good thing 😀 – I’ll endeavour to keep the facts coming.

  4. cookinginsens
    April 6, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    We had marvelous saag paneer in an Indian restaurant in Bangladesh. Nice picture.

  5. Rose
    April 6, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Can you use frozen spinach for this?

  6. countrywoodsmoke
    April 6, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Beautiful curry and recipe, one of my favourites, thanks for sharing. Lovely photo.

  7. Pam K
    April 6, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    That looks phenomenal!

  8. 30075ivan
    April 6, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    I shall be including this on my menu for the coming week. I bought a bunch of beetroot at Frome Independent Marrket today, so guess where the leaves will be heading!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2014 at 8:35 am

      Ah. Frome! I did the Lionheart sportive from Longleat the other week. It’s a great part of the world.

  9. cheri
    April 6, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    What a great dish, paneer cheese sounds amazing!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2014 at 8:34 am

      It’s a fantastic ingredient. I’ll post a recipe about how to make it soon.

  10. Leah
    April 7, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Love a bit of grilled cheese and this looks amazing!

  11. Simple Life Mom
    April 7, 2014 at 2:14 am

    This is one of my most favorite dishes!! Thank you for giving the Steps 🙂

  12. Korena in the Kitchen
    April 7, 2014 at 5:52 am

    I’ve been wanting to make saag paneer for a while now! This looks so good.

  13. Yinzerella
    April 7, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Any ideas for paneer substitutes? I know that I can’t get it where I live. Would tofu work?

    • frugalfeeding
      April 9, 2014 at 8:33 am

      I think tofu would be fine, yes. But be very careful if using tofu as it’s more likely to crumble.

  14. Conor Bofin
    April 7, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Lovely indeed Nick. I need to eat more of this sort of food.

  15. girl in a food frenzy
    April 11, 2014 at 12:26 am

    I love how simple and tasty this delicious recipe is. I often eat it, but have yet to make it. Thanks for showing how straightforward this recipe is 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      April 15, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Thank you, yes, it’s very simple! You should try it.

  16. Rachel K @MarmadukeS
    April 11, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Hi there. I just came across your blog because of a Guardian article on leftover bread that you had retweeted (thank you for that). What a gorgeous blog – I love discovering new (to me) people doing beautiful things with food. Sag paneer is one of my favourite dishes – love the recipe. The photo is absolutely mesmerising – fabulous!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 15, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      My pleasure! Glad you like my blog – hope to see a few comments from you perhaps 🙂

  17. meganpanwar
    April 12, 2014 at 12:21 am

    This looks amazing! Love saag paneer, thank you for sharing!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 15, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Thank you – me too, it’s a wonderful dish.

  18. DellaCucinaPovera
    April 24, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    This looks lovely. What’s better than creamy spinach and cheese!?

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