Saag Paneer / Palak Paneer, Chicken Tikka, Mahatma Gandhi, elephants, Mumbai and Bollywood are probably the first few words any non-Indian learns about India albeit in no particular order. A little offensive you know, typecasting and all) but I am not the type who takes offense with these things; so it’s OK. After all, you need to start somewhere if you want learn about a new culture. If you stopped at these few words and create a stereotype opinion, then, it would be something you might get frowned upon for 😛

Saag Paneer

With spinach and paneer lying around at home, I could not resist the temptation of sharing the recipe for this dish that is featured in the menu of every restaurant around the world. If this dish is as popular as I claim it is, then, I sure can’t be the first one to share a recipe right? What sets this recipe apart from the others?

Saag Paneer

For one, it tastes better than any restaurant’s saag paneer which is probably dripping with oil/ghee. If you want a vegan version/ lean version, this recipe accommodates those variations (check the “My Take” section). The best for the last; this recipe uses pre-cooked lentils (dal, I have used Toor dal/Arhardal) to improve the consistency, texture & taste of the curry.  

Palak Paneer

This bowl of palak paneer with rice is a Balanced Meal in itself covering the 5 nutrition groups with every bite.

  • Carbohydrates from rice; Check.
  • Protein from lentils; Check.
  • Fats from paneer; Check.
  • Vitamins & minerals from spinach, Check.
  • Fibre… duh! Check of course!

Go ahead and try this uncomplicated recipe for palak paneer and never order a take-out for it ever again.

Saag Panner / Palak Paneer


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Serves: 3-4



  • 1 cup Paneer cubes (1 inch cubes)
  • 7 Oz /200 g spinach leaves (palak)
  • 1/3 cup pre-cooked lentils (I have used pressure-cooked Toor dal)
  • 3/4 cup sliced onions
  • 1 cup sliced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2-3 green chilies
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp oil


  1. Heat 1/2 tsp oil in pan; add the paneer cubes and roast them till golden on at least two sides of the cube.
  2. Drain them onto a paper towel. Add 1/2 tsp oil into the same pan.
  3. Add the sliced onions, tomatoes and green chilies. Once the tomatoes have almost turned mushy, add the washed spinach leaves.
  4. Sauté for a min and turn off the heat. The spinach leaves wilt very easily.
  5. Blend the precooked lentils and the sautéed spinach-onion-tomato mixture into a smooth paste (use a little water if required)
  6. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan; add the ginger garlic paste and the powdered spices (cumin powder, red chili powder & garam masala).
  7. Mix & add the spinach paste mixture. Add salt and sauté for a min or two until the sauce begins to boil.
  8. Add the golden paneer cubes; mix well.
  9. Add the cream; turn off the heat and serve hot with naan/steamed rice.
  10. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice onto your plate/bowl. YUMMY!

My Take:

The cream added in the end helps with the texture of the curry and also makes the spinach subtle.

You could replace it with milk or even water if you want a lean version.

Use Tofu in place of Paneer for a Vegan and lighter version.

Yummily Yours'


PS: The cooking time does bot include the cooking time for dal/lentils. I generally use lentils that I cooked previously a.k.a leftovers 😛

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  1. very yummy and tasty saag.

  2. Saag paneer looks delicious.

  3. I’m going through a bit of a paneer craze at the moment… The lentils and cream sound like great additions to this dish. Yum!

  4. I love paneer and also aloo palak , despite tying many recipes I just can’t seem to match up to my favoutite Indian restaurant . Your recipe looks a treat can’t wait to try it out . May I know what kind of pre cooked Lentils did you use?

    • Hey Maya!
      I have used Toor dal/split pigeon peas. You could use any lentil without a strong flavour like split moong or masoor dal too. Thank you for your compliments and this recipe is surely a winner 🙂

  5. Wow very very delicious and tempting palak paneer 🙂

  6. Wow. I cannot wait to try this. But can you tell me if I can use the same idea for a matar paneer or say a kadai paneer cooking?

    • Hey Swati! I would’nt recommend especially not for Paneer Kadai because dal has a tendency to make it more subtle and that’s not what we are looking for with Paneer Kadai right?

  7. palak is not be boiled before mixing it with onion and tomato??

    • Yes Richa. Palak is not boiled. The heat from the 1 min sauteeing and cooking again later is more than enough.

  8. wonderful Palak Paneer Preparation…love its texture and colour..wish to try it with some hot naan or chappathi 🙂 hmmm..want to try soon. Thanks for the great idea Prashanthi….

  9. Very nice idea of adding dal to palak paneer very delicious treat love it.

  10. I tried ur recipe…..i hd put 1/2 tbsp crushed ginger…..i m getting a very strong taste of ginger..pls tell me wat can I do to reduce it

    • Hi Madhu, Are you sensing the strong ginger taste even after blending onion and dal/lentils? If not, blend it. It will reduce. Else, ( strange that 1/2 tbsp is giving such a strong taste), add some more roasted onion and spinach and more cream at the end. Done! 🙂

  11. Thanks…i am trying it right now…hope it turns out yummy.. 🙂

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  13. Loved the recipe thoroughly. But only one correction. Panneer has no fat in it. It’s a protein source.

    • Thank you Anjani. Yes, I agree, it is rich in protein but it does have fat though. Although, it is all good fat which the body requires. So, I mean fats in a good way here 🙂
      BTW, Do try the recipe 🙂

  14. I tried this recipe last night – wonderful!! I have never made an Indian dish so I was quite nervous. But it turned out perfect. My husband had to add chicken though (he can’t fathom a meal without meat grr). But it definitely didn’t need it. Since I didn’t have ginger/garlic paste I just did 1 clove garlic and 1/2T ginger minced. flavor was great to us AND my 1 year old daughter. Thank you 🙂

    • I am sooo happy that you chose this recipe for your first tryst with making Indian and even more happier that you loved it 🙂 Thanks Kait! 🙂

  15. For the recipes that call for cream/milk, I’ve been thinking about trying non-dairy unflavored coconut yogurt, or even a bit of Thai Coconut Milk … do you think either of those would work for a Vegan/Plant Based version, without compromising flavor/texture too much?

    • That absolutely works and there is no compromise in flavor. Thai coconut milk works perfectly. I use it too, to keep my food light. I have not tasted coconut yogurt but I can vouch for coconut & almond milk. If the coconut milk is too thin, it can dilute the consistency of the curry, use small quantities or a creamier coconut milk.

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