Thursday, July 3, 2014

RECIPE: Saag Paneer

Difficulty level: Advanced

Usually, when this dish is ordered in restaurants, it is made with spinach, but it can also be made with a variety of dark leafy greens, including kale, collards, beet greens, and swiss chard.  If using greens with a tough stalk like collards or chard, make sure to strip the leaves and only sautee the greens, discarding the stems.

1 1/2 pounds dark leafy greens, finely chopped
2 Tbs ghee (clarified butter), or vegetable oil
8 oz of paneer or halloumi cheese, cut into 1 in. cubes
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 in. piece of peeled ginger (use the edge of the bowl of a spoon to scrape away ginger skin while getting into those nooks and crannies), finely chopped
2 tsp garam masala spice
1/4 tsp turmeric
kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg

1. Heat a large saute pan over med-low heat.  Add the ghee or oil.

2. Toss in cheese cubes.  Fry while turning so all sides turn a nice golden brown.  Set aside on a plate.

3. When oil is hot, but not smoking, add onion and sautee, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until it starts to get soft.

4. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, and a pinch of salt and sautee, stirring, until fragrant, a minute or two more.

5. Turn heat up to medium and add all your greens.  Cover and cook down, stirring occasionally until greens are completely wilted, about 5 minutes more.

6. Uncover and add heavy cream.  Simmer a few more minutes until mixture is a bit thickened.

7. Add toasted cheese cubes, stir, taste for salt and spice preference, stirring in some more garam masala if desired.

8. Serve with a pinch of grated nutmeg sprinkled over the top.

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