After bringing a bagful of greens from our local Farmers Market over the weekend, I decided to make saag paneer. A delicious vegetarian dish, it is traditionally made with spinach. In this recipe I also incorporated fresh kale. Both greens are packed with nutrients and vitamins. To give it added texture, I simmered it with a paste of cashews and milk, and of course flavoured it with some Indian spice. Enjoy it with rice and/or any Indian flatbread.
Paneer- 200 grams, cut into 1 inch cubes. It is available at any Indian grocery store
Fresh spinach leaves, about 20 to 25
Fresh kale- 2 cups
Raw cashewnuts- 1/4 cup
Milk or half-and-half-1/4 cup
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
Chopped jalapeños-1/2 tsp.
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp.
Whole garam masala(3 green cardamoms, 1 inch piece cinnamon stick, 3 cloves). Use store bought or homemade.For home made, dry roast the following spice – 2 tbsp. coriander seeds, 1 tbsp. cumin seeds, 1 black cardamom, 4-5 green cardamoms, 4 cloves, 8-10 peppercorns, 1 inch piece cinnamon stick, mace (it is a spice similar to nutmeg, it is the dried lace-like covering of nutmeg). Be careful not to burn spices, just a couple of minutes on medium heat. When cool, grind ina spice grinder (i use a small coffeebean grinder). Store in an airtight jar. Can be used in a variety of Indian dishes. It is also easily available at any Indian grocery store.
1 bay leaf
Fennel powder-1/2 tsp.
Ground ginger powder-1/2 tsp.
Cayenne pepper/red chile powder-1/2 tsp.
Garam masala powder-1/2 tsp.
Olive oil- 1 tbsp.
A pinch grated nutmeg
Salt, to taste
Wash the greens thoroughly. Add to boiling water for a minute, remove and set in ice cold water, to retain the colour. Also called blanching.
Purée the greens in a food processor, can add a little water.
Soak the cashews in warm water for 20 minutes. Purée to a smoothe paste along with milk or half-and-half, in a food processor. Set aside.
Heat oil in a saucepan or wok over medium high heat. Add the whole garam masala and bay leaf. Add cumin seeds. Add chopped garlic and jalapeños. Sauté for a few seconds, do not let the garlic burn. Add the puréed greens. Sauté for a minute over medium heat. Add the remaining spices. Simmer on low heat for 5-7 minutes. Add the cashew-nut paste, further simmer for 5 minutes.
Lastly, add the paneer. Add salt to taste. Cover the pan and simmer for 5-7 minutes, till paneer is soft. The dish is ready to be eaten!