Saag paneer is a classic Indian dish of cooked spinach studded with cubes of fried paneer cheese. Thickened with cream, yoghurt or coconut milk, it’s a hearty and filling vegetarian meal.
Serves 2 as a main -4 as a side
- 8oz fresh spinach leaves, washed
- 1 inch piece ginger, grated
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
- 7fl oz water
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 2 tsp methi (fenugreek) seeds, ground
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 3 Tbsp natural yoghurt
- 200g paneer, cut into cubes
- Cook the wet spinach leaves in a tightly covered pan for 5 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and roughly chop the spinach. Add the chopped spinach, ginger, garlic and chilli with a little of the measured water into a bowl and mix. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan, add the bay leaves and pepper and fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the onion and fry for 6-8 minutes or until the onion has browned.
- Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the curry powder, methi seeds, salt and chilli powder. Cook for 2 minutes over a medium heat, stirring a couple of times. Add the Spinach mix and the remaining water. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the yoghurt a tablespoon at a time and simmer for 5 minutes more.
- Add the paneer to a frying pan over medium heat and cook until beginning to brown then turn the cheese cubes and repeat on all or most sides. Add the browned paneer to the sauce and stir to coat. Serve with chapatti or paratha to dunk into the lovely sauce.
To skin the tomatoes, score a cross in the tops, place in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Leave this for about 5 minutes, drain and the skins will be easy to peel away. You can leave them on but the sauce will have hard chewy strands in it and this step is definitely worthwhile for a velvet smooth sauce.