Saag Paneer - Alder Commons Cooking Class

Saag Paneer


A classic menu item at most Indian restaurants is easily made at home using our Indian spice starter kit. This is an easy meal to feed a whole family and keeps well all week. It can be made vegan by using tofu and coconut cream. If you plan to have leftovers, I recommend making this more spicy than you think. Much like chili, the flavors meld overnight and the spiciness reduces.

Time: 30-40 minutes

Servings: 4-6


  • 2 lbs of frozen spinach
  • 1lb store-bought paneer - cut in 1/2” cubes
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 1 14oz can crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 Serrano pepper diced (optional if you want more spice)
  • 2 Tablespoons Ginger Garlic Paste **In a food/processor or blender combine equal parts rough chopped ginger and garlic (1/4 cup of each) add one tablespoon of oil. Blend into a smooth paste. Store extra in a glass jar for up to a month. If you can’t do this, finely mince together a tablespoon of ginger and garlic with a pinch of salt.
  • 3 -4 cloves of sliced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional for garnish)
  • 1/4 C Canola oil

Spices (all included in our 7-spice starter kit)


Special tools

  • Food processor or blender
  • 12” pan with >2” sides or a dutch oven.


  1. In a pan, heat your oil over medium-high heat. 
  2. Add the cumin seeds and within 30 secs until they start bubbling and change color to a darker brown. 
  3. Add the diced serrano pepper and after one minute add the onions and one tsp of salt.
  4. Once the onions are lightly brown, add the ginger-garlic paste. Cook on medium heat until the onions start turning completely brown. 
  5. Add the red chili, coriander, turmeric, cumin powder and garam masala. Stir together with the onions. Add 1/4 cup of water to help deglaze the pan, stir and scrape the fond (the crispy bits) off the bottom of the pan. 
  6. Once the water has evaporated (2-3 minutes), add the crushed, one tsp of salt and the sliced garlic.
  7. Cook the tomatoes on medium heat for 8-10 minutes until the tomatoes are completely broken down. The mixture should look glossy.
  8. Add the frozen spinach, and mix well into the tomato-onion-garlic sauce in the pan. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. The spinach will change color to dark green and wilt. 
  9. Add the heavy cream, and cubed paneer. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the cream is fully dissolved, and paneer is warmed up and starting to soften.
  10. Taste and add finish with 1 tsp of salt and additional garam masala..
  11. Garnish with a slight drizzle of heavy cream, a chopped bunch of cilantro. Serve with Indian bread or basmati rice.

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