June 8, 2019

30-Minute Saag Paneer

30-Minute Saag Paneer

This 30-Minute Saag Paneer recipe is pure MAGIC! Soft paneer chunks in a creamy mustard greens & spinach sauce. Every bite will melt in your mouth.

The velvety texture and subtle spicing of my 30-Minute Saag Paneer recipe ensures the peppery mustard leaves and juicy paneer are the true stars of the show.

What’s the difference between Saag Paneer and Palak Paneer?

You may or may not know that Saag Paneer and Palak Paneer are two completely different dishes. The names are often used interchangeably which is misleading. Indian restaurants and big supermarkets are usually the worst offenders when it comes to making this mistake. Let me explain the difference here.

A dish is made from a combination of leafy greens (usually including mustard leaves) and paneer is Saag Paneer. A dish is made from only spinach leaves and paneer is Palak Paneer.

Saag Paneer vs. Palak Paneer. Why does it matter?

You know how people always confuse Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie? Well, many mix up Saag Paneer and Palak Paneer in the same way. Each is made using different ingredients which means they have very unique flavours.

Not all greens taste the same so the combination of leaves used can make a HUGE difference in the finished dish. I’m always disappointed when I order Saag Paneer and am served a bowl of Palak Paneer. It definitely doesn’t have the same peppery kick from the mustard greens as Saag Paneer does.

Can I use shop-bought paneer?

The short answer is yes. In fact, I encourage it. You don’t have to make your own paneer for this recipe unless you really want to. If you do want to make your own paneer, head on over to my Instagram Stories Highlights (ep.1 Paneer) for a step-by-step tutorial.

Note: If you are using homemade paneer, you can skip the soaking in water step in this recipe.

30-Minute Saag Paneer: Mustard greens, spinach and aromatics before cooking

A bit about pressure cookers

I adore my pressure cooker. I’ve had one since I can remember because it’s so handy for making everyday Indian food. I use my pressure cooker for daal, curry, khichdi and more. It’s definitely one of my most prized possessions in the kitchen!

In this recipe, the pressure cooker breaks down the saag and aromatics in just 10 minutes. If you have an Instant Pot the saag takes around 5 minutes to cook on high power. If you don’t have either, bring everything to the boil in a large stock pot and cover with a lid. Cook for 30 minutes until everything is tender.

How to make vegan Saag Paneer

Simple! To make vegan Saag Paneer, switch the paneer for fried firm tofu cubes. Replace the butter in the recipe with your favourite plant-based spread.

Do I need a blender to make Saag Paneer?

My recipe calls for a blender because it makes quick work of creating a smooth sauce. For that reason, I use a high-powered NutriBullet. However, you can use any blender you have, including a stick blender.

It’s also fine to serve the Saag Paneer chunky if that’s what you like. In Northern India (where Saag Paneer comes from), people chop all the greens and aromatics finely before cooking the saag low and slow. The pot of saag is constantly beaten with a long spurtle (basically a wooden stick) to break everything down. You need serious arm power to make Saag under the Indian sun.

The finished dish is hearty and dark green.

30-Minute Saag Paneer

How to make Saag Paneer

Step 1

Boil all the leafy greens and aromatics (ginger, garlic and onions) along with some water in a pressure cooker until tender. A pinch of baking soda will help the green cook quickly! This should only take 10 minutes, or 3 whistles in the cooker. Let it cool slightly.

Step 2

Transfer everything to a blender and add the cornmeal. The cornmeal thickens the saag up nicely. As a result, it has a nice, velvety texture. I like to add a knob of butter to the blender to help everything emulsify to a silky sauce.

Step 3

Soak the paneer in boiling water (I just use kettle water) for 5 minutes. You’ll see the colour of the paneer changes from a creamy yellow to bright white. This is good. After a soak, the paneer will be juicy and squidgy.

Step 4

Give the inside of the pressure cooker a quick wipe. Heat butter in the pot and add the cumin seeds, ginger and chillies. Therefore, I add chillies right at the very end because I can remove a portion of the finished dish for Bodhi. Cook for a minute.

Step 5

Add the saag mixture and stir. Cook for 5 minutes over a low heat, stirring all the time. Be careful as it will bubble and spit. Allow to thicken slightly. Stir in the salt and garam masala.

Step 6

Add the drained paneer to the saag and stir well. Heat through and serve piping hot with your favourite roti, paratha or naan. Serve this 30-Minute Saag Paneer the traditional way with makki ki roti (thick cornmeal rotis), butter or ghee, onions and chillies.

30-Minute Saag Paneer

This 30-Minute Saag Paneer recipe is pure MAGIC! Soft paneer chunks in a creamy mustard greens & spinach sauce. Every bite will melt in your mouth.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: curry, mustard greens, north indian, paneer, saag, spinach
Servings: 6
Author: Sanjana

Equipment

  • Pressure cooker

Ingredients

  • 300 g mustard greens washed, roots trimmed
  • 300 g spinach leaves washed
  • 2 large onions cut into chunks
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled
  • 5 cm piece ginger peeled and cut into chunks
  • Small pinch baking soda
  • 250 ml water
  • 4 tbsp fine cornmeal
  • 100 g butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 450 g shop-bought paneer cubed

For the tadka:

  • 50 g butter
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cm piece ginger peeled and julienned
  • 3-4 green chillies chopped

To serve:

  • Red onions cut into rings
  • Chopped chillies
  • Extra butter
  • Paratha makki ki roti or wholewheat roti, to serve

Instructions

  • In a large pressure cooker, add the mustard greens, spinach, onions, garlic, ginger, baking soda and water. Fix the lid onto the pot and cook for 10 minutes.
    30-Minute Saag Paneer: Mustard greens, spinach and aromatics before cooking
  • While this cooks, put the paneer in to a large bowl and add enough boiling water to cover. Soak for 5 minutes and then drain. This will make the paneer chunks extra soft.
  • Carefully release the steam from the pressure cooker and remove the lid. Allow to cool slightly. Add the cornmeal and butter, then blend to a smooth purée.
    Cooked mustard greens for Saag Paneer
  • Melt the butter in the same pot and add the cumin seeds, chopped chillies and ginger juliennes. Sauté for a minute and then add the saag purée. Cook for 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in the salt and garam masala.
    Blended saag for saag paneer
  • Finally, add the drained paneer chunks and heat through. Serve immediately, garnished with red onions, extra butter and optional chillies.
    Creamy paneer chunks in saag paneer recipe
  • This pairs perfectly with paratha, makki ki roti (cornmeal roti) or wholewheat rotis.

Notes

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container. Reheat thoroughly before serving.
  • Freeze the Saag Paneer in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature and ensure food is piping hot before serving.

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30-minute saag paneer

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