Our Saag Paneer is finger-licking velvety spinach with chunks of cheese. Saag means vegetable greens in Hindi, and this dish can be made with spinach (fresh or frozen) or mustard greens; it is a smooth, exotically spiced dish with chunks of paneer (Indian cheese) that melt in the mouth. A universal favorite.
16 oz. (approx.)
½ lb. (8 oz.)
1 cup (8 oz.)
Frozen, chopped spinach
Paneer, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 1½ cups) Medium onion, chopped
Hot green chili or ½ jalapeno, finely chopped
Fresh ginger, minced or paste
Medium cloves garlic, minced or paste
Canned or fresh whole peeled tomatoes, pureed
Salt (or to taste)
Sour cream (optional)
1. (If using fresh spinach)
Wash the spinach well and trim it. Heat ½ cup of water in a large pot. Add the spinach, cover and cook until it has completely wilted. Prepare a large bowl with ice and water in the meantime. Immediately plunge the blanched spinach in ice cold water to stop the cooking and retain its brilliant green color. Drain the spinach but do not squeeze it. Put it in a blender or food processor to puree, adding a 1-2 tbsp. of water. Keep aside.
(If using frozen spinach)
Defrost the spinach under warm, running water or in the microwave. Drain and pulse in the food processor until smooth, then set aside.
|2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the cubed paneer and cook, stirring occasionally, till some sides are golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.|
|3. In the same pan, heat the remaining 3 tbsp of oil. Once hot and shimmering (it’s very important that the oil is hot) add the contents of Spice Sachet 1. Let it sizzle until you see the spices getting darker, 30-60 seconds.|
|4. Once hot, add the chopped onions and green chili and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 7 minutes.|
|5. Add the minced ginger, garlic, Spice Sachet 2, ½ tsp salt and 3 tbsp water and cook, stirring often, until the spices are fragrant and well cooked, about 5 minutes. Keep some water nearby and add 1-2 tbsp at a time if it’s sticking to the pan.|
the pureed tomatoes and cook until
thickens, about 7 minutes.
7. Add the pureed spinach and paneer and if needed ¼ to ½ cup water (it should have a consistency similar to creamed spinach). Cook, stirring occasionally, to let the flavors meld, for 3-5 minutes.
8. Add sour cream (if using).
9. Remove whole red chilies to avoid biting into them by mistake. Taste for salt and serve hot!