I love Indian food. And after living together for six years, my roommate Jennsen does too. This love includes saag paneer, which is a mild North Indian dish made with greens and cheese (paneer).
One of the beautiful things about saag paneer, other than cheese being one of the stars of the show (we can get into my love of cheese later), is that you can use any leafy green from your fridge or garden that you need to use up. So, if you bought an inspirational bag of spinach that you haven’t used yet, this is a great way to use it before it goes bad! Typically, the main green used is spinach. If you are purely using spinach, it can be called palak paneer.
But, for this preparation, I didn’t use spinach. I used Swiss or rainbow chard from my parents’ garden. But I have used spinach before to make saag paneer. At some point I would also like to try and make it with kale and/or mustard greens. So just have fun with it!
You might be wondering where to get paneer cheese. I have managed to get mine in my Imperfect Foods box. You can also find it at most Indian and Middle Eastern grocery stores. Or you can also make your own! Because paneer is a fresh cheese, it is one of the easiest cheeses to make at home. All you need is milk, lemon juice or vinegar, and a cheese cloth. You can find Aarti Sequeria’s easy paneer recipe on the Food Network.
If you don’t want to use paneer, you can use other proteins like chicken. Or maybe even chickpeas and potatoes!
I like most of the curries I make at home, I serve this saag paneer with fluffy jasmine rice and/or a simple naan-style flatbread.
- blender or food processor
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 3-4 cups swiss chard leaves chopped
- 4 oz paneer cheese
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 inch ginger minced
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Saute the onions in a skillet with the olive oil until they start to soften. Then add the garlic, ginger, and garam masala. Saute until the garlic and ginger have started to soften and the spices have had a chance to deepen in color and scent.
- Add the chopped swiss chard to the skillet with the onions, along with about 1 cup of water. Cook the chard until it is softened and its green color has brightened.
- Add all of the skillet contents to a blender, along with the heavy cream and blend until it is smoothly pureed.
- Before adding the sauce back to the skillet, dice the paneer cheese into bite sized pieces and gently sear them in the skillet with the butter.
- Once the paneer has come color on it, add the sauce back to the skillet. Let the sauce simmer for about 5 mintues for everything to marry together and until it is your desired thickness.
- Serve with fluffy jasmine rice and/or your favorite kind of indian flatbread.
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