Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Saag Paneer

We call this "Palak Paneer" at home but I have seen that this dish is mostly referred as "Saag Paneer" at the Indian restaurants here in the United States. I decided to use the name "Saag Paneer" not because it is more ubiquitous here but I generally use any "saag" or leafy greens and do not limit myself just to palak or spinach. I have used the collard greens or even turnip greens instead of spinach. The picture above is actually "Collard greens Paneer"!
Saag Paneer/Palak Paneer
Leafy Greens with Indian Cottage Cheese
1lb/16 oz pack of frozen leafy greens of your choice [ use Spinach or Collard greens or Turnip greens]
salt to taste
1 cup Paneer cubes
Grind to a coarse paste (1)
Thawed greens
Grind to a fine paste (2)
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped
1" ginger, peeled & chopped
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 small piece of cinnamon
A pinch of asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (optional)
2-3 cloves
2 red chilies
1. Grind thawed greens coarsely and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
3. Add cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves and chilies
4. As they sizzle, add onion-tomato paste.
5. Saute for at least 20 minutes till the raw smell of onion disappears.
6. Now add coriander-cumin powder, turmeric powder - if using and paprika.
7. Add ground leafy greens, salt to taste and 1 cup water.
8. Add paneer cubes and let it simmer for about 1/2 hour till the gravy is thick.
9. Serve with Naan or Paratha.
Note -
1. For richer flavor, you can use "creamed spinach" - available in the frozen section. But as the name suggests, it does have heavy cream. So along with rich taste, it also gives more calories and fat!;-D
2. For richer flavor, you can also fry paneer pieces before adding to the curry.
3. For richer flavor, you can also use "ghee" instead of oil.
4. If there is any leftovers, you can discard the whole spices and grind all the ingredients together to make a homogeneous mass with greens and paneer and then add enough whole wheat flour and salt to taste and roll out delicious parathas.
5. Some people do not use turmeric powder in this recipe to retain the lush green color of the leafy greens. Some people add a pinch of baking soda. I do not use baking soda and add turmeric powder for the health benefits.

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