Saag Paneer (साग पनीर)

Based on BBC Food’s “Spinach paneer

Ingredients

  • 750g/1½lb baby spinach, washed
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into long julienne
  • 1½ tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1-2 green chillies, whole
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • salt, to taste
  • 250g/8¾oz ready-made paneer (available from some supermarkets and Asian grocers), cut into cubes
  • ½-1 tsp garam masala
  • 6 tbsp whole milk, or 4 tbsp double cream
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice, or to taste (about quarter of a large lemon)

Directions

  1. Blanch the spinach in hot water for three minutes or until wilted.
  2. Drain into a colander and run cold water over it until cool.
  3. In a food processor or blender, blend to a smooth paste and set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan.
  5. Add the cumin and fry for about 30 seconds, until fragrant
  6. Then add the onion and fry over a low heat for about six minutes, until soft.
  7. Add the ginger, garlic and chillies and cook for a further minute.
  8. Add the ground coriander and salt to taste.
  9. Cook for another 30 seconds then add the spinach and a splash of water if necessary.The mixture should be loose but not watery.
  10. Bring to a boil and then simmer for three minutes.
  11. Add the paneer cubes, garam masala and milk or cream.
  12. Stir and cook for a few minutes or until the spinach is nice and creamy.
  13. Stir in the lemon juice to taste. Serve with pilaff rice or naan bread.

Optional: for vegans, replace the paneer with extra firm tofu, but add the tofu with ginger in step 7.

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