Restaurant Style Palak Saag Paneer

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

Restaurant Style Palak Saag Paneer
Diet Info: DF GF F LF Na LS VG V Fa

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 | chefdehome.com

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 | chefdehome.com

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 | chefdehome.com

Variations:
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 | chefdehome.com

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:

Homemade No Yeast Garlic Butter Naan Quick Oven Baked Naan Bread Homemade Restaurant-Style Indian Garlic Naan

Restaurant Style Palak Saag Paneer

4.9 (13 reviews)
Restaurant Style Palak Saag Paneer
Total Time: Prep Time: Cook Time: Cuisine: Indian () Difficulty: Easy
Yields: 4 Servings - Serves: 4
(No. of servings depends on serving size.)

Ingredients

  • 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)
Smart Swap: Replace paneer with tofu and cream with coconut milk for Vegan Curry

Directions

  • 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 Recipe Notes:

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

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40 Responses

  1. Can your make the spinach purée a day before?
    Yes, a day ahead should be fine.
  2. Curry powder or Garam masala?What was used?
  3. Oh my, this was lovely! I fried my paneer in the instant pot air fryer lid then followed all of your directions. Sooo good and so helpful to anyone (like me) learning how to prepare an authentic Indian dish. My daughter went back for seconds --- and that is something! Thank you!
    Thanks for letting me know. It is indeed a beautiful feedback. Love hearing experience like these. You know this Palak Paneer recipe, specially because of fried paneer, has extra oomph which you may not even find in Indian restaurants! Fred Paneer makes a lot of difference. It is a homemade trick. I'm so glad to hear your family enjoyed it. :-)
  4. Just made this for dinner. Sooooo good. Best Palak Paneer I have ever made. Thank you!!
    Thanks for letting me know. I'm glad you enjoyed Palak Paneer.
  5. Without a doubt this is the best paneer recipe I’ve found. Super flavourful and makes great leftovers for lunch the next day!
    Thanks 🙌
  6. I made this last night, along with a Butter Chicken recipe. This was OUTSTANDING! I blended it at the end, just before serving, and it had the texture of pureed spinach. Great flavors and pretty easy to make.
    Thanks for sweet feedback. I'm glad you liked Saag Paneer.
  7. I absolutely loved this recipe! My family wanted more and more and just raved about it! I wanted to share a pic of it but I don’t see a place to do that: Anyhow thanks for sharing this recipe, my dad said it’s even better than a restaurants palak paneer:)
    Such a sweet feedback, Christine! I can honestly say, it made my day. Thanks to your family for having faith in my recipe. I'm glad you guys enjoyed. 🙌
  8. I've used this recipe twice and its the simplest easiest and tastiest of the recipes online. Love it!
  9. Not bad, but nothing like restaurant palak paneer. Had to add extra curry powder and still didnt taste like much, though I was missing whole cumin seeds I still expected the curry flavour to come through more. Also wasnt that green, more of a greenred combo. Wont make again.
  10. 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.
  11. 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?
  12. Are there any net carb counts or nutritional info on recipe?
  13. 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!
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. 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!
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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