It's one of my family's favorites as well, and although my family has made this meal over the years, I find it turns out different based on the types of ingredients used each time. Frozen spinach makes it more watery versus fresh, while if the fresh spinach is blended it's creamier versus when the spinach is cooked down and cream is added.
I recently made saag paneer and apparently I did a good job, because my mom tried it and said so.
serves 6, Prep: 35 min., Cook: 35 min.
- 2 tbsp of oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tsp. of crushed fresh ginger
- 1 tsp. of fresh chopped garlic
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1 tsp. of salt
- 1/2 tsp of pepper
- 2 tsp. of curry powder **
- 1 pkg. of paneer, Indian cheese, cubed
- 2 pkgs. of fresh baby spinach, chopped
- 1/2 cup of half and half
** Indian curry powder is not made from curry leaves. It actually is a blend of spices. Here's a basic recipe. You can save the extra in a small tupperware container for 6 months.
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 dried red chiles, broken in pieces, seeds discarded
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
blend the ingredients in a small coffee grinder.
- Heat a medium pot over medium heat. When warm add 1 tbsp of oil to pot.
- When oil is heated, but before smoking, add onions and saute until translucent.
- Add garlic and ginger and saute for 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and saute until tomatoes slightly melt.
- Add spinach to the pot and cook until wilted. Add curry mixture.
- In a separate saucepan, heat the remaining oil over medium heat.
- Add cubes of paneer and try to brown on each side over medium heat.
- Once the spinach mixture is cooked, take half of the mixture and puree in blender with half and half.
- Add puree mixture back into the original spinach mixture.
- Once paneer is browned add that to the spinach mixture and fold into dish.
- Check for seasoning and add salt if necessary. If you want it spicier you can break up a green chili and add it to the dish, or add crushed red peppers.
Serve with naan.