Sunday, October 2, 2011

Saag Paneer

No classic Indian meal would be complete without saag paneer. The original recipe calls for half spinach and half mustard greens, saying that the mustard greens provide a nice bitter-tasting balance to this creamy dish. I skipped on the mustard greens to keep it a bit more traditional and was quite pleased with the results.

One year ago: Lemon and Cranberry Scones

Saag Paneer (adapted from 660 Curries)
2 tbsp canola oil
1 medium red onion, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
6 medium garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
4 lengthwise slices fresh ginger (2" long, 1" wide, and 1/4" thick), coarsely chopped (I just microplaned it)
2 tsp Bin bhuna hua garam masala
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp tomato paste
900g spinach leaves, well rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher or sea salt
1 1/4 lbs paneer, cut into 1" cubes and pan fried
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp Punjabi garam masala

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry until onion is light brown, 8 - 10 minutes.
2. Remove skillet from heat and stir in bin bhuna hua garam masala and turmeric (the spices will cook without burning!).
3. Transfer mixture to a blender jar and add tomato paste and 1/4 cup water. Puree to form a smooth, reddish-brown paste.
4. Return paste to skillet. Pour 3/4 cup water into blender jar and whir blades to wash it out. Add to skillet.
5. Place skillet over medium heat. Pile handfuls of greens into skillet, cover, and let steam to wilt. Stir and repeat until all the greens are wilted.
6. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until greens are broken down to a sauce-like consistency, 10 - 15 minutes.
7. Stir is salt, paneer, cream, and punjabi garama masala.
8. Continue simmering, covered, stirring occasionally until cheese and cream are warmed through, 5 - 8 minutes.

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