A beloved vegetarian dish of spinach and mild fresh cheese, saag paneer is one of my favorites from the Indian repertoire. This is my version, the result of several years of testing and tweaking different saag paneer recipes, reading cookbooks and gathering inspiration from Indian restaurants. I think you’ll love it.


  • Paneer
    • 10 cups whole milk
    • 2 cups warm water
    • 10 tablespoons white vinegar
  • Spinach
    • ½ cup olive oil
    • 2 onions, diced
    • Salt
    • 2 tablespoons ginger, grated
    • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 2 tablespoons chile powder
    • 2 teaspoons turmeric
    • Pinch of ground clove
    • 1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
    • Pinch of chile flakes, or more to taste
    • 3 lbs. frozen and thawed chopped spinach, squeezed dry
    • 10 ounces coconut milk
    • Freshly ground black pepper


1. Make the Cheese : Bring milk and water to a simmer in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the vinegar to the pot and slowly stir. You will see the curd start to separate from the whey. Season liberally with salt. Strain the curdled milk through several layers of cheesecloth, draining thoroughly.

Let rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, you can cook with it, but it will crumble (I personally love this version). If you let it sit in the cheesecloth for a couple more hours, it will harden and you will be able to cut it into cubes.
2. Make the Spinach : Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt and cook for about 3 minutes. Next, stir in the grated ginger and garlic cloves. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, then add the chile powder, turmeric, clove, coriander seed and chile flakes. Cook until spices become aromatic, about one minute, then add the spinach. Pour in the coconut milk and stir to combine. Cook for another minute then add the reserved paneer cheese—either crumbled or cubed, whatever you prefer. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.


Needs lots of salt - probably 1-1/2 tsps or more.


Indian, Vegetarian


Indian, Vegetarian


Andrew Zimmern


4 servings




Asian : Southern : Indian