Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dinner #2: Saag Paneer

Saag paneer is one of my favorite dishes to order at Indian restaurants. One nice thing about being a weekday vegetarian (it's only been two days ha ha!) is that it causes me to dig out those recipes I've always wanted to try but never got around to. This is one of those recipes.

If you are not familiar with paneer, it is a firm, mildly flavored Indian curd cheese.

As they cooked in the butter, the paneer cubes got hot enough
that they started to jump around in the pan, essentially turning
themselves for the most part. It was pretty entertaining actually :)

I served the saag paneer with whole wheat naan. When we run out of naan, we'll switch to rice. This recipe will yield enough for dinner plus two days of lunch leftovers for two people.

Saag Paneer
Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Yields 6 servings

1 1/2 lb baby spinach, washed and dried (a salad spinner will be your best friend here)
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
12 oz paneer, cut into 1/2 in cubes
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 Tbsp freshly ground spice mixture (includes whole cloves, cardamom, mustard seed, coriander seed, cumin seed, red pepper flakes) *See 101 Cookbooks recipe for more info*
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 c buttermilk
fresh lemon juice
toasted sesame seeds

Wash, dry, and chop spinach. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large soup pot. Saute onions in butter until soft. Add salt, garlic, ginger, spice mixture and turmeric. Stir for 1-2 minutes. Add spinach gradually and stir constantly until spinach is soft and wilted. Pour in buttermilk. Continue stirring until buttermilk is heated. Remove saag from heat, taste and add more salt or red pepper flakes if needed. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the saag and stir.

Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Fry paneer in batches for about 7 minutes turning the cubes at least once. Tip: Give the cubes plenty of room so they can brown properly.

Mix paneer into saag and serve. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and more lemon juice if desired.

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