Tuesday, July 23, 2013

saag paneer...

So what do you do when you have a 2 lb (1 kilo) bag of spinach? From pesto to panini, salad to sandwiches everywhere you can see some green, kind of  a green revolution in the kitchen. :)

The first dish made from that huge pile of spinach was this popular Saag-paneer. Saag-paneer is very common in any Indian restaurants, a little different take on the famous Indian dish Palak-paneer. In palak paneer, homemade cottage cheese (paneer) is cooked in a pureed spinach (palak) gravy. In case of saag-paneer other leafy greens like baby mustard leaves are very finely chopped along with spinach and the paneer is cooked on that green gravy, no need to puree the leafy greens.

I prefer saag paneer for two reasons. One being, this dish requires much less time and effort to prepare. Wash the leafy greens and chop them, you are ready to make the dish. No need to blanching and pureeing the leafy greens. And the second reason is, while making Palak paneer one need to blanch the spinach and drain the water. Blanching and draining the water wash out considerable amount of nutrition from the spinach.

So it was the saag paneer for our Monday dinner. I used store-bought paneer, but you can easily make then at home. I used only spinach for the gravy, when you have that huge bag full of spinach what else one would use!!! I followed more or less the same recipe I do follow for palak paneer.

Things needed to make Saag-Paneer:

  • Spinach: 400 gm
  • Paneer: 100 gm
  • Onion : 3/4 cup
  • Garlic : 3-4 cloves
  • Ginger : 1 inch
  • Tomato : 1 large
  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
  • Black cardamom: 1
  • Cloves: 5-6
  • Cumin powder: 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 2 tsp
  • Turmeric power: 1/2 tsp
  • Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp
  • Green chili (chopped): 1
  • Garam masala powder: 1 tsp
  • Ghee / clarified butter: 1 tsp
  • Fresh cream: 2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • Oil to cook

Steps of making Saag Paneer:

1. Cut the paneer into thick triangles or cubes.

2. Heat oil (1 tbsp) in a pan, fry the paneer pieces in batches, over high heat till the surface takes a nice brown color.

3. Boil 4 cups of water with a teaspoon of salt. Dip the fried paneer in that hot water, cover and keep in hot water for 15 min. Drain water and keep aside.

4. Wash spinach well. You can use baby mustard leaves too along with the spinach. Drain out excess water and chop very finely. Do not hurry, use a sharp knife, and chop as finely as you can. Keep aside.

5. In a deep pan or kadhai heat oil (3tbsp). When the oil is hot, reduce heat and add cumin seeds, cinnamon, black cardamom, cloves. As the spices release a nice aroma and starts to change color add crushed garlic. I prefer to use crushed garlic, as it imparts much better flavor than garlic paste. Cook the garlic for 1 min.

6. Add onion and cook till it takes nice brown color. Make sure the onions are very finely chopped. Add grated ginger, mix well and cook for 2 min. Add grated tomato. I like to discard the seeds of the tomato. Sprinkle little salt, cover and cook for 3-4 min.

7. Add cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, mix well and cook till oil separates.

8. Add chopped spinach, cook over high heat. Add salt and chopped green chilies, mix well. Keep stirring till all the spinach are wilted. Reduce heat, and cook for 5 min or till the spinach is cooked. Add the fried paneer pieces, sugar, garam masala powder and ghee (clarified butter), mix gently. Cook for 5 min, switch off heat. Add fresh cream (if using), mix and serve with roti, paratha or naan.

Print Recipe and PDFPrint Recipe
Saag-Paneer(Cottage cheese cooked in spinach gravy)
(Serves 4)
Spinach: 400 gm
Paneer: 100 gm
Onion (very finely chopped): 3/4 cup
Garlic (crushed): 3-4 cloves
Ginger (grated): 1 inch
Tomato (grated): 1 large
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon sticks: 1 inch
Black cardamom: 1
Cloves: 5-6
Cumin powder: 1 tsp
Coriander powder: 2 tsp
Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp
Green chili (chopped): 1 (optional)
Garam masala powder: 1 tsp
Ghee/clarified butter: 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
Oil to cook
Fresh cream (optional): 2 tbsp

1. Cut paneer into cubes or triangles, shallow fry on a pan. Boil water with salt, dip fried paneer in that hot water.
2. Wash and chop spinach.
3. Heat oil in a deep pan, add whole spices, add crushed garlic.
4. Add onion, cook till brown, add ginger.
5. Add tomato, cook for 3-4 min.
6. Add dry spices, mix well, cook till oil separates.
7. Add chopped spinach. Add salt, green chili cook till spinach is soft.
8. Add fried paneer, sugar, garam masala powder, ghee.
 9. Switch off heat, add fresh cream, serve hot with roti, paratha or naan.

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  1. love the pics and the recipe...paneer looks fab..nice to connect with you

    1. Thanks Prathibha, it's great to hear from you.

  2. That definitely is a new take on the regular palak paneer. looks wonderful.

    1. Sayantani, thanks, this is the way they do here in all the Indian restaurants.

  3. Wow this looks amazing... Love the paneer shape which u cut... Amazing clicks

  4. wow...looks wonderful.....i like the grill marks on paneer,...delicious.

    1. Thanks Sushmita. I cut it that way to bring the grilled look.

  5. Hey Chitrangada,
    Beautiful paneer I love neat trick of replicating the grill mark with zig zag knife and the triangles look interesting instead of the usual cubes we see.
    Yummy saag altogether.

  6. like ur board and styling.. very catchy presentation..

  7. Its such a stunning dish, the paneer and spinach has oozed out some much of wonderful flavors. Love all the visuals.

  8. What a fancy way to grill the paneer. Lovely saag, you have put all the spinach to great use.

  9. I love saag paneer! Your recipe and pictures make me sooo hungry - still am glad I stumbled on your blog :)

  10. Loved going through the post...beautiful pictures and the innovative way of bringing up the grilled marks on the panner...

  11. wow, that can make anybody hungry! beautiful blog and yummy saag paneer!

  12. Saag paneer looks so delicious ! The way you cut the paneer is very nice !

  13. Looks very yummy.. Loved the clicks & presentation !