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Ditch the delivery with restaurant-style yet super easy palak saag paneer - curry spiced spinach with Indian fried paneer!

Restaurant Style Palak Saag Paneer

Saag Paneer or Palak Paneer or Indian creamed spinach and paneer curry, no matter what I call it, it is a delicious and easy spinach and Indian cheese main course curry which I always order in one of my favorite Indian restaurant! 

Oh, yes! Even though I cook and have shared many Saag recipes on the blog.... I'm always impressed when someone shares a delicious plate of my fav food with me. So, this recipe is re-take on my own palak paneer recipe... to give it that restaurant-style taste, texture, and aroma!

For vegetarians, Saag Paneer is always one of the main vegetarian choice in Indian Buffets/Eateries. If you have ever ordered veggie thali (plate), I bet you are not new to flavor of that creamy Saag Paneer. 

Oh, and there is nothing special needed to make this curry. Other than obvious spinach and paneer (or tofu if you like), rest everything is very pantry-friendly. No special preps here, it's all in the style of cooking!

Easy saag curry with fried paneer |

As a kid, I have vivid memories of eating Palak Paneer (this is what we call it in my home) every few days. Even after being from meat-lovers family, (both parents and in-laws), there are still few days in week when we don't eat meat due to religious reasons. So those days if anyone is not ready to eat grass-food (that's what Vishal calls a vegetarian meal), then votes are counted for Paneer (the fav Indian cheese). And Saag Paneer is one of THE most obvious choice.

I have shared many Saag recipes on blog already but most pictures were taken at night and are so old. My old day favorites when I had no clue how pictures should look.... Though all of those spinach/palak curry taste very good and are regular in my home. If you are in mood to eat Indian for dinner, check a few of those recipes here.

So, this Saag Paneer is actually adaptation my own recipe. 

We have an Indian Market near our area where we go for most of our Indian groceries. One restaurant in that area makes killer Saag Paneer! I mean so so good that if we get there during lunch time, I have to eat a Thali (Indian Plate of food) with special Saag Paneer. Inspired from that recipe, I updated my recipe to taste just like that Restaurant's palak paneer.

It took me few attempts but picky eater in my home loved it. :) 

Palak Paneer |

Blanched Spinach Vs Raw Spinach for Saag Paneer?

I have always cooked Saag Paneer with blanched (or in home-style - boiled) palak. The main difference in restaurant's saag paneer is that it is not pureed like I used make at home. So, first I thought, may be I can use raw spinach and then leave it chunky for this version of saag paneer. 

That attempt was an epic failure! Raw spinach has this bitter after taste that after even being cooked in curry I could taste it. So it did not pass my kitchen-level test. However, I served it for dinner that night since had planned for dinner.  To my surprise Vishal actually enjoyed the curry. He did not get any bitter taste.

Conclusion? May be I have too sensitive palate or batch of palak I used was bitter.... I recommend boiling the palak/spinach before using in this recipe. However, if you are in hurry and love spinach no mater what? Then go ahead and use it raw.  It saves lot of time. 

PS: You can also use frozen spinach for this recipe. Surprisingly, frozen spinach works perfectly without any pre-cooking.

Easy Restaurant style Indian saag paneer |

Other than using boiled/thawed greens, Saag Paneer is very forgiving by nature. You can really make many variations.
1) Replace paneer with tofu, corn, soy nuggets or even chicken/lamb if you eat non-vegetarian.
2) You can even use mustard greens or kale instead of spinach.

I have following recipes on blog featuring Spinach or Mustard Saag:

1. Palak Corn
2. Palak Paneer
3. Palak Soy Nuggets
3. Palak and Mustard Green Saag

Health Benefits and Diet Info:

Now, I can't finish this post without sharing a few words about health benefits of this Indian Curry. With vegetarian protein from Indian Paneer (or tofu if using), it also has abundance of calcium, iron, folate and also Vitamin-C. A serving of saag paneer will serve at-least one good (or two) serving of veggies.

Also, this recipe is Gluten Free and can be vegan if you use tofu and replace cream with coconut milk.

That much and it is still an easy vegetarian main course!

Palak Paneer Indian Creamed Spinach and Fried Paneer Curry |

So, friends! This time, ditch the delivery and order Restaurant Style Saag Paneer from your own kitchen! :)

oh, and don't forget to serve Indian Naan bread on the side!

Try this recipe and make Paneer at home to use in Palak Paneer. It tastes fresh and better than store-bought.

Pairing Ideas:

Restaurant Style Palak Saag Paneer

Restaurant Style Palak Saag Paneer
Total Time Prep Time Cook Time Cuisine Indian Category Difficulty Easy Yields 4 Servings (Serves: 4) Notes No. of servings depends on serving size.
Smart Swap Replace paneer with tofu and cream with coconut milk for Vegan Curry


    Palak Saag
  • 1 lbs Spinach (palak, fresh or frozen, I used fresh baby spinach)
  • 2 tbsp Canola Oil
  • 1 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Cup Red Onion (small chopped)
  • 1.5 Cup Tomatoes (grated, or 8 ounce can of whole tomatoes)
  • 1 tbsp Garlic (2 cloves, minced)
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1-2 tbsp Heavy Cream (optional)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Fried Paneer, optional
  • 1/2 lbs Paneer (cubed)
  • 2 tbsp Canola Oil (for frying paneer)


  • 1. If using frozen spinach, thaw it and squeeze of water and set aside. Move to Step 2. If using fresh spinach, bring a pot of water to boil. Add spinach and boil until just wilted. Drain water, and set aside.
  • 2. In food processor jar or blender, process *half of spinach until coarse pureed. Rough chop remaining half, set aside.
  • 3. In a heavy bottom skillet, heat 1-2 tbsp canola oil, add paneer cubes and fry until light brown and crispy from most of the sides. Remove on paper towel and set aside.
  • 4. in same pan, add 1 more tbsp canola oil. Add cumin seeds and let them sputter. Now, add onion and garlic and saute until onions are soft (2-3 minutes).
  • 5. Add grated tomatoes (or pureed canned tomatoes) and all the spices with 1/2 tsp salt and saute for 5-8 minutes or until tomatoes are cooked and oil starts to separate.
  • 6. Add in coarse pureed spinach, remaining spinach (chopped) with 1/4 cup of water and bring to boil. Cover and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Remove cover, add butter, cream, fried paneer and remaining 1 tbsp oil, then cook for 5-10 minutes until very little water remains in spinach and color of spinach has darkened.
  • 7. Taste and adjust salt. Remove from heat. Serve warm with Indian bread and side salad.
Savita's Notes:

*For smooth texture, you can also puree all of spinach.

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25 comment(s)

  1. I cant wait to try this recipe. What kind of curry powder do you use? Can I use garam masala? There are so many different curry powders available in stores and I never know which one to use.

    If you can find use Madras Curry Powder. I often also use Mccormick medium hot Curry Powder. On a side note, you can replace Curry Powder with 1.5 tsp Garam Masala and add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder. I hope it helps.
  2. This is the best Palak Saag Paneer recipe I have found. I made it with firm tofu instead of cheese and it was delicious! Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Hi Emily. I'm happy to share. :) Thanks for sharing you experience with us. Indeed, Tofu makes good replacement for paneer-cheese. So many options with home cooked meal. Isn't it?
  3. Are there any net carb counts or nutritional info on recipe?
  4. Omg YUM! I veganized with plant butter and coconut milk! Skipped the paneer all together and ate over brown basmati! SO DELICIOUS. Off to browse more of your blog :)

    Thanks, Grace. I like your vegan touches to palak saag paneer. I hope you find more inspiration on the blog. Enjoy!
  5. This was perfect! Definately making this again. I added some ginger since I had grated extra for a korma I made the same night. This recipe is a winner
  6. Red onion? Oh, Savita! I dont know why anyone uses red onion. It is the worst-tasting substance on earth and basically ruins anything it touches. I would have given your recipe 5 stars if it didnt have this in it. I use shallots instead of onions in all of my dishes. Try it the next time you make this. Also, for my sag paneer, cream or coconut milk is an essential ingredient but it didnt affect my rating of yours.
  7. I have made this twice now and it is sooooo good! I use tofu and I get the canned tomatoes with jalapenos to give it a kick. Its a big hit with my kids too, which is the ultimate achievement.

    Mandy, I'm happy to hear your family enjoyed palak paneer this much. Tofu is good substitute for paneer any day. I like your use of tomatoes with jalapeno too. Good idea!
  8. This recipe is awesome and I will use it again. My husband who loves paneer, said that it was the best one so far that I have made - was restaurant quality. Thank you

    I'm glad your family Palak Paneer. Thanks for sharing feedback, Cynthia.
  9. I tried this and it was the perfect texture and the flavors were great. I added minced ginger when stir frying the garlic etc. (because I like ginger) and used cayenne for the chili powder. Thank you for sharing!

    Hi Amy, I'm glad you enjoyed. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Ginger is certainly a good addition. Also, thanks for 5* ratings.
  10. Perfect saag recipe! I substituted potatoes for paneer as I am veggie. Thanks for sharing!

    Stephanie, I'm glad you enjoyed. Paneer is also vegetarian but a milk product. Potato sounds good too.
  11. When do you put in the other half of the spinach? I don't see that step listed. And do you puree it at all before?

    Hi Elise, Other half of spinach goes in when pureed portion is added, in step-6. I roughly chop it. I have updated the step, thanks for pointing out. You can also choose to puree all of it. It will be then more smooth in texture. I hope it helps.
  12. do you have to use curry powder? what is in curry powder? which one do you use?

    Hi Lisa, I use madras curry powder. If you can't find that then use 1/2 tsp each if : cumin powder, coriander powder, chili powder. I hope it helps.
  13. This has always been my go to dish when dining out in an Indian restaurant. Its so easy to decide on and gives me the satisfaction to have at least one green thing along with loads of fat and oil to make a balance. the photos like always are perfect and describes the dish beautifully :)

    thanks, Nupur for such sweet words. Palak saag is my fav in Indian restaurants as well! A good serving of veggie is always welcome! :) Isn't it?
  14. Tempting Paneer kadai...looks delicious and yummy!!!

    thanks, Rani! :)