Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saag Paneer

This is a much lighter version of saag paneer than you would get in an Indian restaurant, but the flavor is right on the money.

10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
8 ounces paneer
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
peanut oil or ghee
2 teaspoon dhanna jheera powder or 1 tsp ground cumin and 1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp red chili powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp sugar, or to taste
condensed milk, to taste
tsp garam masala (optional)

Dice paneer into 1 inch cubes. (In restaurants, they fry the paneer cubes briefly in a pan to seal and lightly color the surface. One could do this, although I generally do not.) Drain on paper towels and set aside.

In a blender or food processor, puree the chopped onion, ginger garlic paste and fenugreek leaves with 2 tablespoons of water. Set aside.

Heat the oil or ghee in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, snf stir fry the pureed ingredients for 5 - 6 minutes. Add the dhanna jeera powder and stir fry for another 30 seconds. Add the spinach and stir fry until most of the liquid has evaporated, moving the mixture in the pan constantly so it does not burn. Add the tumeric and red chili powder, stirring for a minute. Add the tomato paste and warm water (only add the water if the mixture is too thick at this point)

Add the prepared spinach and stir constantly over a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the paneer cubes, salt and sugar to taste (add only enough sugar for a rounded flavour; the mixture should not taste sweet). Cook slowly for another 5 minutes. Finally, stir in the condensed milk (adding less or more depending on how thick and/orcreamy you like it). Sprinkle with garam masala and serve.

Serves 4 as part of a meal.

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