Saturday, October 5, 2013

Saag Paneer–better than Khan’s..


Saag Paneer probably appears on 95% of all our takeaway curry orders but I’d never made it from scratch – too much spinach and cream for me to be bothered with.

Frozen spinach and yoghurt completely transform the prospect and paneet keeps in the fridge for ages so you can pretty much always have the ingredients for this. I made a cauliflower curry on the side too – not so successful. Still – better than Khan’s is good enough to make it again.

Recipe courtesy Aarti Sequeira – Foodnetwork

Prep Time:
10 min 
Cooking Time:
45 min
4 servings


  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or Kashmiri chilli powder
  • Sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 tablespoons veg oil or ghee, or mix of both
  • a block of paneer – around 200-300g, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 500g frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped – if you can get Indian pink onions they are beautiful although often pricey – well, for onions anyway.
  • 1 thumb of ginger, peeled and finely chopped (about 1-2 tablespoon)
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2-3 Indian green chillies, finely chopped or other chillies to whatever heat strength you like it.
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 heaped teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt, stirred until smooth


In a large bowl, whisk together the turmeric, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons oil. Gently, drop in the cubes of paneer and gently toss, taking care not to break the cubes if you're using the homemade kind. Let the cubes marinate while you get the rest of your ingredients together and prepped.

Thaw the spinach in the microwave in a microwave-safe dish, and then chop a bit more if it’s too chunky for you. 

Place a large frying pan (non-stick if it is undamaged or a good well seasoned cast iron one preferably)  over medium heat, and add the paneer as the pan warms. In a couple of minutes give the pan a toss; each piece of paneer should be browned on one side. Fry another minute or so, and then remove the paneer from the pan onto a plate.

Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to the pan. Add the onions, ginger, garlic and chili.

Gently fry the onion mix until it’s a rich golden colour - which should take about 15 minutes, although inevitably it takes longer. Don't skip this step - this is the foundation of the dish! If you feel like the mixture is drying out and burning, add a couple of tablespoons of water.

Add the garam masala, coriander and cumin. If you haven't already, sprinkle a little water to keep the spices from burning. Cook, stirring often, until the raw scent of the spices cook out, and it all smells like it knows each other a bit, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the spinach and stir well, incorporating the spiced onion mixture into the spinach. Add a little salt and 1/2 a glass of water, stir, and cook about 5 minutes with the lid off.

Turn the heat off. Add the yogurt, a little at a time to keep it from curdling. Once the yogurt is well mixed into the spinach, add the paneer. Turn the heat back on, cover and cook until everything is warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Eat with bread or rice. In general also think most of this kind of food should come with some sort of salad, from a kachumber, to a simple green or tomato, it often needs just a sharp lemon juice and salt dressing to offset the richness of the spices. Try it and see what you think.

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