$1.75 and 30 Minute Homemade Saag Paneer
Saag Paneer is unquestionably my favorite Indian dish and my only complaint at restaurants is that I spend $12 and never get enough! Well, portion problem solved. In 30 minutes, for $1.75/serving this homemade Saag Paneer recipe makes more than I can eat! Plus, I know all my ingredients and don’t have to share with anyone!
Homemade Saag Paneer Recipe
$1.75 and 30 Minute Homemade Saag Paneer
- 10" Non-stick saute pan
- Chef's knife
- Two medium bowls
- Small bowl
- 2 lbs frozen pre-cut organic spinach
- 3/4 lbs paneer cheese, cubed to ~1/2"
- 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup yogurt (not Greek!)
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp grapeseed or avocado oil
- ~2 tbsp garam masala (2 tsp: ginger, 1 tsp: coriander, cardamom, black pepper, 1/2 tsp: cumin, cinnamon; 1/4 tsp: cloves, nutmeg)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
For Spicy Saag Paneer
- 2 serrano peppers, finely chopped
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- Steam frozen bags of spinach in the microwave.
- Chop paneer into ~1/2″ cubes. Put the cubes in a medium bowl along with turmeric, cayenne, a pinch of salt (<1/8 tsp), and just enough grapeseed oil to lightly coat the cheese. Mix together.
- Mix spices for garam masala in the small bowl.
- Remove veins and seeds from serrano peppers (if using). Finely chop peppers, garlic, and onion. Put them in the other bowl along with the garam masala and ~1/4 tsp of salt. Mix together.
- Sauté paneer cubes on in the sauté pan over medium-low heat (~4 out of 10), stirring occasionally. Return to bowl once cubes are slightly browned on one side (~5min) and set aside to cool.
- Add a little grapeseed oil to the sauté pan over medium-low heat (~1 TBSP) and add the onion and pepper mixture. Sauté until onions begin to soften (~3 minutes).
- Add the spinach directly from the bags to the sauté pan along with the rest of the salt (~1/2 tsp), combine with the onion mixture and cook, stirring occasionally (~10 minutes).
- Turn off the burner and add yogurt in 1/4 cup scoops, stirring to combine in between each scoop.
- Add paneer and stir to combine.
Step 1 – This task should be completed while working on Steps 2-5. The bags I buy take ~5 minutes to heat up. 3 bags = 15 minutes = time to prep paneer and vegetables!
Step 3 – Be sure to take a whiff of that homemade garam masala before adding it to the onion mixture. Smells pretty great, doesn’t it?
Step 4 – Be careful when deveining and deseeding those peppers! Use your knife as much as possible and wash your hand with warm water and soap immediately afterward. Definitely don’t rub your eyes!
Step 5 – No need to add any additional oil to the sauté pan for the paneer since they are already lightly coated!
Step 6 – No need to rinse out the sauté pan, take advantage of the turmeric and cayenne scraps!
Step 7 – Your goal is to cook out any liquid that has gathered at the bottom of the pan so that it is not too runny when you add the yogurt. Start your clean during this step!
- 2 lbs of frozen pre-cut organic spinach ~$6
- 3/4 lb of paneer, cubed to 1/2″ – $5
- 1/2 large white onion ~ $0.50
- 3/4 cups of yogurt (not Greek!) ~ $0.75
- 6 garlic cloves ~ $0.25
- 2 serrano peppers (optional) ~ $0.10
- 1+ TBSP of grapeseed oil ~ $0.10
- 1+ TBSP of garam masala ~ $0.75
- 2 teaspoons ginger ~ $0.50
- 1 tsp turmeric ~ $0.10
- Cayenne, salt ~ negligible
Total Cost per Recipe ~ $14
Cost per serving (~8 servings) ~ $1.75
I find this recipe truly demystifying. I thought Saag Paneer was an extremely complex process that could only be created in a commercial kitchen. So much so that not too long ago I purchased some frozen Saag Paneer from the grocery store only to be left extremely disappointed (safe to say I do not recommend…). But let’s break down the recipe: Sauté some onions-garlic-spices, add vegetables, and enjoy! Sounds surprisingly similar to plenty of other recipes out there. Moral of the story: You can do it! Try out this recipe for homemade Saag Paneer, then follow your taste buds and create your own cuisine!
Looking for other fun and demystifying recipes:
- $2.25 and 45 Minute Eggplant Curry
- $2.50 and 60 Minute Acorn Squash Bowls
- $4.50 and 30 Minute Sweet Potato Hash
As always, make informed food decisions. Know your ingredients, know your costs!