Andy’s Saag Paneer

It may not be terribly authentic, but this is how I like to make my saag paneer. I’ve read through a lot of different recipes and have tried many different versions, but after many hours in the kitchen, this is what I ended up with. Obviously if you have different taste buds, you’ll like different things. I know some love adding lots of cloves and our favorite Christmas spices: nutmeg/cinnamon, etc, but I keep it relatively simple. You can get just about everything from your Indian grocer (including fresh spinach that is much cheaper than the supermarket).

Wash and cut the raw spinach to one inch segments and use a deep pan with very little water at the bottom to cook through. I would use minimal water because the spinach will release it’s own water. This part when I first tried it involved some improv where I cooked it first then cut it, which required more energy to squeeze out all the soupy water (otherwise leaving you a big mess). I also had to cool it down before cutting for obvious reasons. I’ve also read a lot of recipes where the spinach is completely puréed but I prefer to have some texture as opposed to soupy sauce.

Cut up the onions and throw it into a pan to cook through. Add the cherry tomatoes when the onions are halfway done. I like my tomatoes not cooked all the way through to get than tangy freshness.

When the spinach is done, drain the excess water and add in the onion and tomato mixture. Add in salt, 2 tablespoons of coriander powder, and let simmer while preparing the paneer.

Sear the paneer cubes in enough ghee to coat the pan. In restaurants you normally don’t find the cubes browned, but that’s how I like mine!

Paneer in Ghee

In a side pan heat up some ghee and add a flat teaspoon of cumin seeds to toast. I’ve been told to let it get very dark, so I actually let it get nearly burnt and added it to my spinach mixture.

Add the paneer to the spinach mixture.

From here I put my mixture of three pinches of red chili powder, five ground up cardamom pods (not the shell, just the insides), and three cloves. Finally, I added two pinches of garam masala and folded it in. Let it rest for a few minutes on a low flame then serve. Garam masala has the the delicate AND spicy spices in it, so in order to preserve the delicate quality you add it in the end.

Since I’m a cilantro fanatic, I tend to cut up excessive amounts of it and finely chop the stem and put it into my mixture so as not to let anything go to waste.

Andy's Saag Paneer