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Tasty twist on a family favourite - Saag Paneer

By
Real Estate Agent with Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 PA License - AB067198

Growing up in my family and England I always loved curry. My Mum made a really good curry, whether it was lamb, or chicken or even beef, it was always delicious. My Dad had served in India during WW Two, so he loved curry and often we went as father and son to a restaurant near his office for curry. One of my favourites was Saag Ghosht, lamb with spinach. 

So when I began cooking, I taught myself how to make it. It is quite mild as curries go, full of spinach and lamb, made creamy by yogurt, and the lamb was always so succulent. My kids loved it growing up and they often asked for it. This is spiced but not spicy. For a meat dish it goes into the oven and takes longer to cook than the following recipe for Saag Paneer.

But time passes, and nowadays we want to eat more vegetarian dishes, so I changed from a lamb curry to a spinach and paneer a type of Indian cheese curry. We have been eating it quite a lot and I love it. You could probably make this with tofu as well if you wanted.

In a bowl add 1 teaspoon of turmeric and half a teaspoon of cayenne, some salt, preferably kosher, and some olive oil, cut up into cubes 12 oz of paneer, you should be able to get this from Costco or an international food shop. If using tofu use a firm tofu and squeeze the water out as much as possible. Add the paneer/tofu to the bowl and mix well together making sure it is well coated. Set aside.

You can use fresh spinach but it is easier to use frozen chopped spinach, thaw and process in a food processor till it is smooth.

Heat up a medium pan and add the paneer, no need for extra oil, cook till it is browned on all sides, a few minutes per side. Paneer is relatively firm and will not melt, but will become crispy, same as tofu if using. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add some more oil to the pan, then add a medium onion chopped, four cloves of garlic crushed, one inch of ginger root grated and a serrano chili, you can chop this up or use whole and just slice with a knife so the insides are open. If you chop the chili remove the seeds if you do not like spicy food. Fry this till it is well browned, add water if it is drying out and burning.

Add a half teaspoon of garam masala, available from an Asian food store, two teaspoons of ground coriander, and one teaspoon of ground cumin, add water if it is too dry, you want the spices to cook, but not burn, this should take about 3-5 minutes till the raw smell of the spices is gone. Add the spinach, half a cup of water and incorporate the onion mixture into the spinach, mix well together and cook for about 5 minutes without a lid, taste and add salt if needed.

Turn off the heat, add a half cup of plain yogurt, can be Greek but make sure it is plain, stir well to blend it into the spinach, add the yogurt a bit at a time so it doesn't curdle. Once it is incorporated add back the paneer and tun on the heat to low to medium to heat it al through for about five minutes.

We eat this with rice, garlic naan bread, we can get this at our supermarket, and I like mango chutney, but the last is not really necessary. I have also added tomatoes to the onion mixture as well, which is what you see in the photo. But you can leave them out. If you prefer it a little creamier add more yogurt. 

Enjoy, this healthy meatless meal. I know we do regularly.

 

 

 

 

Posted by

 

Nick Vandekar
Nick is a Tredyffrin Easttown Residential and Commercial REALTOR selling The Main Line, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties.

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Downingtown , PA 19335
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Tredyffrin Easttown or along the Main Line, 
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Comments(24)

Gloria Todor
Premier Property Sales & Rentals - Springfield, PA
& Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA

Nick, Lucky you to get introduced to such foods at an early age.  It usually takes someone in the family having spent time in a different part of the world to appreciate the food of another culture like in your household.  Your adaption of the recipe sounds wonderful!  Thank you for sharing!

Jun 12, 2024 01:46 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
The best agent in Southern Utah!

Yes to this! Thank you for submitting a tasty dish to tempt our palates, Nick, much appreciated! I do like the options of meats or simply going vegetarian.

Jun 12, 2024 02:03 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543: Interesting recipe I have never cooked with curry although I have eaten out 

Jun 12, 2024 03:06 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 I have never had a curry dish or lamb.  Maybe it is time I tried both.

Jun 12, 2024 04:10 PM
Patricia Feager, ABR,CRS,GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Flower Mound, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 - I loved hearing about this old world recipe, where it came from, and how you were introduced to it by your parents. You must have had a very interesting childhood with so many good memories! I loved that you kept up with the family tradition, tweaking it as needed for dietary needs. 

This is a GREAT entry!

Jun 12, 2024 08:18 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Nick, I have been cutting back on curry a bit too spicey for Diane... we have been cutting back on spices... as well as salt... and personally I prefer fresh spinach but do keep frozen one handy when I do not have the fresh stuff:)Endre

Jun 12, 2024 10:47 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Nick, I have been cutting back on curry a bit too spicey for Diane... we have been cutting back on spices... as well as salt... and personally I prefer fresh spinach but do keep frozen one handy when I do not have the fresh stuff:)Endre

Jun 12, 2024 10:48 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Nick - like Dorie Dillard Austin TX, I was unfamiliar with curry growing up but acquired a taste for a lot of different tastes when I moved out.  While I may not attempt to prepare your recipe, I will keep it in mind the next time I look at a menu.  And speaking of restaurants, I notice many dining places note the spiciness of a dish in interesting ways, so I like how you adjust the heat as well as adapt the ingredients.   

Jun 13, 2024 04:12 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

That sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing!

Jun 13, 2024 05:29 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

That looks and sounds delicious, I do like me some curry and this post is making me crave a trip to India Oven, which is where I go nearby, haha.

Jun 13, 2024 05:51 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Gloria Todor my mother and father introduced us to all sorts of foods when we were growing up. We could taste anything as long as we did not spit it out. It held you back from some things like oysters when i was little.

Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can! the lamb does have a slightly different recipe and method, but this is simple and delicious.

Hannah Williams curry is actually a made up word, by the British, not used in India, they have different dishes with different spice mixes, often referred to as a masala.

George Souto there are so many good lamb dishes, unfortunately my wife no longer eats lamb, so I will only have them if out.

Patricia Feager, ABR,CRS,GRI,MRP I was very lucky to be introduced to lots of different cultures and foods when young.

Jun 13, 2024 06:56 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Endre Barath, Jr. this can be made very mild, not spicey at all, just leave out the chili pepper, and reduce the amount of garam masala, cumin and coriander are not spicy. I think you would like it. Add a bit more yogurt too to reduce the heat even more. I use fresh spinach too, but you need to either chop it finely or put in the food processor to cut it finely.

Michael Jacobs lots of people as they get older prefer less spice, so it is good to be able to adjust. I used to get my chili at our local Indian supermarket, but theirs is very spicy, so now I get it elsewhere.

Kat Palmiotti it is one of my favourite dishes.

Brian England if you like lamb ask for saag ghosht, if you prefer a vegetarian dish then ask for saag paneer which has just spinach and cheese.

 

Jun 13, 2024 07:02 AM
Brian England

Oh, I like lamb Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, I am definitely a carnivore, haha.

Jun 13, 2024 07:03 AM
Michael Jacobs

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 - you may be unfamiliar with the story that Mary had a little lamb but she kept it away from Brian England. HaHa and a bit of Bah-Bah too.  

Jun 13, 2024 07:07 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543

Brian you will love this dish, and Michael that is a new take on the nursery rhyme I had not heard.

Jun 13, 2024 07:46 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This looks good. Thank you very much, Nick, for sharing your recipe. I will post it on X.

Jun 13, 2024 07:17 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Roy Kelley thank you, appreciate it.

Jun 13, 2024 07:46 AM
Eileen Burns 954.483.3912
Trans State Commercial Realty Inc. - Fort Lauderdale, FL
FLorida Real Estate Connector

Delicious Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 I certainly have no desire to spend all that time preparing for one so I will indulge at my next restaurant opportunity😎

Jun 15, 2024 06:54 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Nick- My grandmother made curried oxtail. I was just a kid so I wasn't a huge fan however I've grown to love curry. I use it in many dishes and love it. I'd never heard of paneer but want to try to make this dish!!!

Nick- I just checked! My market has several kinds of Paneer and a Saag Paneer Frozen Meal!!!

Jun 15, 2024 04:58 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Eileen Burns 954.483.3912 I can eat this for days, and curries always taste better the second day.

Kathy Streib lucky you having a frozen version ready to eat. Our local Asian/Indian supermarkets carry many different frozen ready made dishes as well.

Jun 18, 2024 01:07 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The RIGHT CHARLOTTE REALTOR!

Oh my goodness, this sounds amazing, Nick! Loved the story and the recipe as curry is one of my favorite spices. I've bookmarked and will definitely give this recipe a whirl!

Jun 30, 2024 07:04 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

What a wonderful addition to the challenge!  This sounds so yummy.  I'll have to share it with my daughter as she loves to make unique recipes for company. She's quite the cook and I know would love using firm tofu!  Thank you for sharing!

Jul 01, 2024 11:03 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Debe Maxwell, CRS it really is a delicious recipe and not complicated once you have made it once or twice.

Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ she will love this, I made a stir fry last week using firm tofu it was delicious. We try to eat two evening meals a week that are vegetarian.

Jul 01, 2024 11:15 AM