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Saag paneer

Don’t let the long ingredients list put you off - this saag paneer from BBC Food is really easy to make.

Thanks to the combination of cumin, turmeric and garam masala, it’s bursting with incredible flavours too.

The perfect family dish, it only takes a couple of simple substitutions to make it vegan-friendly, so it’s suitable for everyone at the dinner table.

Nutritional content

Servings: 4 people

Cook time: 45 minutes


250g spinach, washed and chopped

Generous glug of vegetable oil

225g paneer, cut into chunks

2 tbsp butter

1 onion, chopped

3 small chillies, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

5cm piece ginger, chopped

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp turmeric

2 tbsp very fine polenta


  1. Put the spinach in a large pan and add just enough water to cover it. Bring the water to the boil over a high heat, cover, then reduce the heat. Simmer for around 20 minutes, with the lid off for the last 5 minutes. Cook until all the water has evaporated.

  2. In the meantime, put a frying pan over a medium-high heat, then add the oil and shallow fry the paneer, turning often until the cubes are golden all over. Put them on a plate covered in kitchen roll to drain off the oil.

  3. Wipe the pan clean, then melt the butter. Add the onion, chilli, garlic and ginger and cook for around 5 minutes, until soft and starting to brown.

  4. Add the salt, cumin, garam masala and turmeric and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly.

  5. Add the paneer and coat it in the onion and spices, then take the pan off the heat.

  6. When the spinach is ready, add the polenta and use a masher to blend everything together until it’s thick and mostly smooth, but with a little texture.

  7. Tip the warm onion and paneer into the spinach mixture. Mix together, then serve straightaway.


Vegan: To make this dish vegan, try replacing the paneer with tofu, and use more oil for cooking, rather than butter.


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