Saag Paneer

Saag is the Hindi term for leafy greens. This recipe uses spinach, but mustard greens and collard greens are commonly used too. For a vegan version, swap the paneer cheese for firm tofu.

bowl of Saag Paneer on purple napkin
Photo: Jason Donnelly
Start To Finish Time:
30 mins
4 cups


  • 1 tablespoon ghee

  • 1 recipe Paneer or Pressed Tofu, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon Masala

  • 9 ounce fresh baby spinach, chopped (8 cups)

  • 1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • Lemon wedges (optional)

  • Naan or puri (optional)


  • 2 quart (8 cups) whole milk

  • 1 cup half-and-half

  • ¼ cup lemon juice or white vinegar

  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • 2 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cumin seeds

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds

  • 2 teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds

  • 4 whole cloves


  1. In a 4- to 5-qt. Dutch oven heat ghee over medium. Add Paneer, half at a time, and cook 6 minutes or until browned, turning occasionally. Remove from pan.

  2. In Dutch oven cook onion, ginger, and garlic over medium heat 4 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in Masala. Add spinach, stirring until wilted and any excess water is evaporated. Stir in cream. Bring to boiling. Boil gently 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in paneer and salt.

  3. If desired, serve with lemon wedges and naan


  1. Rinse a 5- to 6-qt. stainless-steel or enamel Dutch oven with water (this will help keep the milk from scorching). Add 2 qt. (8 cups) whole milk and 1 cup half-and-half. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Heat over medium-high 12 to 15 minutes or until mixture reaches 180°F, stirring and scraping bottom of pan with a rubber spatula. Reduce heat to medium-low. Gradually add 1/4 cup lemon juice or white vinegar, stirring gently 1 minute or just until curds form (do not stir too much or curds will become rubbery). Remove from heat. Line a large colander with three layers of 100%-cotton cheesecloth and set over a large bowl. Drain hot milk mixture through colander 30 minutes; discard liquid. Gather edges of cheesecloth and lift curds. Twist ends of cheesecloth and press curds with a rubber spatula to remove excess liquid. Sprinkle curds with 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt. Place curds, in cheesecloth. on a plate and shape into a square (it doesn't have to be exact). Fold cheesecloth tightly around curds and top with a second plate. Weight down by adding a pot or a few unopened cans of food to plate. Chill 1 to 2 hours. Remove cheesecloth and use paneer immediately, or store in refrigerator up to 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.


  1. Heat a 10-inch dry skillet over medium. Add spices. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant, shaking skillet occasionally. Cool slightly. Finely grind in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Store at room temperature up to 3 months. Makes about 6 Tbsp.

Pressed Tofu

Drain a 14- to 16-oz. pkg. extra-firm water-packed tofu. Fold two paper towels into quarters. On a plate layer tofu between paper towels. Weight it down by placing a second plate on top and adding a pot or a few unopened cans of food to the plate. Let stand 30 minutes, replacing paper towels if they get completely wet.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

425 Calories
33g Fat
15g Carbs
18g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 425
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 33g 42%
Saturated Fat 19g 95%
Cholesterol 96mg 32%
Sodium 566mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 18g
Vitamin C 27.9mg 140%
Calcium 321mg 25%
Iron 2.6mg 14%
Potassium 295mg 6%
Fatty acids, total trans 1g

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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