Saag Paneer

Hi all, I’m uppping sticks, getting out of dodge, moving house, whatever you want to call it, it’s happening! I’m excited. Don’t worry! I’m not going to bang on for ages about how all my stuff’s in boxes and I don’t have a fridge. No. What I am going to do is it tell you about one of the jobs I had to do before leaving our current house.

Naturally, I was interested in collecting on all the hard yards(!!) I put into the vegie garden before we left it. So, I decided to pick all the greens I planted in autumn. There was just a bit of kale, spinach and silverbeet. It didn’t look like much, so I picked and picked and then some. “Greens cook down to nothing!” I told myself, until I had a green mountain. See below.

What would you do with a pile of greens this big? I decided to make saag paneer because it uses heaps of green things and the cubes of fried cheese make it exciting. As you can imagine, the green mountain made A LOT of saag paneer. We ate it for dinner with some specialities(rice, bread, Manchurian dumplings) from our local Indian take away, then had plenty of leftovers. Luckily, my friend, who would like to be known here as Neon Freedom, thought of something ace to do with the leftovers. Neon thought it would be tasty to spread it on a piece of roti, roll it up then fry it and she was right!

 Saag paneer recipe

This makes a reasonable amount of saag, not giant amounts of saag. If you can’t find paneer, you can make your own! Or substitute any other cheese that fries up nicely, like haloumi or kefalograviera.

250g paneer
1 tablespoon butter
500g spinach, stalks removed
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
2 diced onions
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 tsp tumeric
2 tsp garam masala
Small bunch of fresh corriander, chopped
1/2 a cup of yoghurt
Juice of one lemon

1. First, fry the paneer. Heat the butter in a big frypan until foaming, then add it. Let it cook for a few minutes, before gentling tossing to make sure it browns on all sides. This takes about five minutes, when it’s done set aside. I like to season this with some sea salt as well.
2. Chop all the spinach finely. Toast the seeds until they’re very fragrant, then grind in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
2. In a big soup pot, gently saute the onion in the ghee or oil, until soft. Sprinkle some salt over and stir well. Add the garlic and ginger and when you can smell it, add the spices. Turn the heat up to medium high and stir well. When this is very fragrant, add the spinach, in batches if necessary stirring all the while. I found things were sticking a bit so I added half a cup of water as well. When it’s all added, put a lid on and let it cook for a few minutes. When it has wilted and cooked down, add the yoghurt and lemon juice. Pour into a serving dish and put the cheese on top.

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