We love Saag Paneer, an Indian dish made with spinach and fried cubes of paneer, a soft Indian cheese. This recipe was pretty “do-able” with ingredients we could find locally. We’ll be making this again for sure!
For the cheese:
paneer (about 24 small pieces, the amount yielded by this paneer recipe)
about ¼ cup all-purpose flour
vegetable oil for frying (3-4 Tablespoons or more for a larger frying pan)
For the spinach:
2 pounds spinach (or other similar dark green vegetable)
For the sauce:
1 two-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic
½ skinny, spicy dark green pepper (partially seeded for less heat)
2 bunches fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon + 1 teaspoon salt, divided
¾ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup water
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Directions and Notes:
1. First, fry the cheese:
-Cut the cheese into ¾ inch cubes and toss in the flour until well-coated.
-Heat vegetable oil about ½ inch deep in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat.
-When the oil is warm, add the cheese and fry, turning occasionally until the cheese is golden brown. Drain the cheese and set it aside.
2. Cook the spinach:
-Boil a pot of salted water.
-Cook the spinach for about 30 seconds and remove it with a slotted spoon. Put it in a bowl of salted ice water.
-Drain the spinach and squeeze it dry.
-Chop into roughly ½” ribbons and set aside.
3. Make the sauce:
-Pulse the ginger, garlic, pepper, cilantro, cumin, turmeric, and ½ teaspoon of the salt in a food processor until it forms a paste, finely chopped.
-In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, ¼ cup water, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
4. Heat 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large frying pan or pot over medium high heat.
5. Add the onion and cook it until it is a deep golden brown and fragrant, approximately 4-5 minutes.
6. Add the ginger mixture and cook, stirring for about 2-3 minutes until it is toasted and fragrant. (Add a little water if the mixture starts sticking at any point.)
7. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add ½ cup water and the cooked spinach. Stir until the mixture is heated through, about 2-3 minutes.
8. Stir in the yogurt mixture and simmer gently until the mixture is slightly thickened, roughly 5 minutes. (If you’re working with a thin yogurt or if the mixture seems runny for any reason and is not thickening, you can add a small amount of a corn starch-water mixture… probably not an authentic Indian cooking technique, but it works!)
9. Add the fried paneer and cook the mixture for about another minute.
Recipe adapted from: Food Network