20 June, 2009

Saag Paneer

Saag Paneer is one of my favorite things to order at indian restaurants, it's essentially a creamy spinach mixture with chunks of homemade indian cheese, aptly named paneer. Being the traditionally trained indian chef I am, I set along with nothing but the best and freshest ingredients of unquestionable authenticity.. Okay, so that's not true. I just went off of what I knew and could remember from eating out at curry places and since I'm stuck in a bachelor pad for the summer, frozen spinach and the spices I could find had to do.
So if you've ever had saag paneer or even "Googled it" you'll notice that it varies quite a bit from place to place with the creamy/spinach ratio. Mine turned out a little more on the creamy side than most, but it was lovely.
Coupled with two mini-whole wheat pitas it made quite a lovely lunch, and is still one of Oli's and my "easy to make" fast and warm dinners.

(recipe serves 3)
1/2 package (8oz) of paneer cheese
1/2 tbsp butter/margarine
1 onion finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic diced
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder/ chili flakes
2 tbsp of flour
1/4 cup of shaved parmesan
2 cups of semi-skimmed milk
2 1/2 cups (packed) de-thawed frozen spinach
1 tbsp salt
black pepper to taste

Add small amount of cooking spray to a pan and brown paneer on each side. Remove paneer from pan and set to the side. Add butter to pan with sliced onions and garlic and sauté until caramelized, add chili powder/ flakes, and cumin at the end of the sauté. Add 1/2 tbsp of flour to the onions and garlic and incorporate (soaking up the butter from the sauté) slowly add another 1/2 tbsp of flour to the mixture and incorporate well. Gently mix in (and I mean gently) small amounts of the milk, stirring constanly, and then the rest of the flour to make a rue. Once you've added all of the flour and about 1/2 a cup of the milk, add the shaved parmesan, black pepper, and salt. slowly add another 1/2 cup of the milk and then add in the spinach and cooked paneer, mixing constantly. Slowly incorporate the last cup of milk and allow for the mixture to simmer until thickened to desired consistency.
Add more salt to taste and enjoy!


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