Saag Paneer


1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach or 2 10-oz packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
8 oz paneer cheese (if you cannot find paneer, halloumi is a good substitute)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons spice mixture (see recipe below)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper


If you’re using fresh spinach remove the stems, and then rinse and dry the leaves thoroughly. Chop roughly and set aside. If you’re using frozen spinach, squeeze out as much of the moisture as possible and set aside.

Put the ghee or vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Cut the paneer into ½-inch cubes and add it to the pan. Cook, tossing frequently, until the cheese is lightly browned on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the paneer with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onion to the pan and sauté, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, spice mixture, turmeric and a pinch of salt. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Turn the heat up to medium and add the spinach to the pan all at once. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach is wilted (or until the frozen spinach is warmed through), 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the buttermilk and cream and simmer until thickened, another 3 to 5 minutes (add more buttermilk and/or cream if the mixture seems dry). Taste and add more salt if necessary, along with the nutmeg and some pepper. Stir in the paneer and serve.

Spice Mixture

Makes about 1/4 cup

2 tablespoons cumin seed
1 tablespoons coriander seed
2 teaspoons mustard seed
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon cardamom seeds
3 whole cloves

Using an electric coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind the spices together as finely as possible. This spice mixture can be stored in an airtight container for a few weeks, but its potency will decrease over time.