I decided recently, seeing the price of paneer in our local Indian convenience shop and when we had a glut of spinach, that I really wanted to make saag paneer. The combination of almost crispy spinach, creamy cheese with crunchy edges and chilli is undeniably good. Every recipe I've come across suggests that it should be used as a side dish. I'm afraid that doesn't wash with me. It goes really well with jeera rice. Almost like the two are made for one another.
This is a recipe that I've been planning on sharing for some time.... but I made it once and didn't write down how I'd made it. I've been trying for months to perfect it for sharing. I finally achieved it last night, so here goes!
250g paneer cheese, cut into dice-sized cubes
20g of unsalted butter
300g baby spinach
two small green chillis, deseeded and finely sliced
5 garlic cloves, grated
5cm ginger root, grated
one onion, finely sliced
2 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp tumeric
pinch of salt
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add your spinach. Cook for one minute and then remove from the heat, drain and place in a colander. Run cold water through the spinach until it has cooled. This will allow the spinach to retain its vibrant green colour. Squeeze as much of the moisture out as you can, ball it up and then roughly chop. Put to one side.
Melt the butter in a frying pan or a wok and fry the paneer. Keep turning it over so that all sides brown. Remove from the pan and put to one side, leaving any remaining butter behind. If there isn't any, melt a further teaspoon.
Add the chilli, onion and garlic and fry for six or seven minutes over a medium heat, until the onion goes translucent. Add the spices and salt and stir for a further minute or two, distributing the spices through the mixture.
Finally, add the paneer and spinach to the pan, and mix thoroughly. Cook for a further five minutes, allowing the spinach to dry even further.
I've been investigating other dishes that I could make with paneer next. These are the ones I've bookmarked: -
Paneer Fritters from Recipes and Reviews
Tikka Paneer Kebabs from Supper in the Suburbs
Paneer pizza from Fuss Free Flavours.