SAAG PANEER, CHAI PANI STYLE
Yield: 4-6 Servings
Time: 30-40 mins
2 lbs of frozen spinach
1lb store-bought paneer (***see recipe at bottom of the page for how to make paneer at home)
1 medium red onion diced
1 small can crushed tomatoes or 2 large fresh tomatoes diced (Roma tomatoes work well. I like crushed tomatoes because they’re usually vine-ripened and have more flavor in cooking. You can get high quality and organic tomatoes in a can just about anywhere).
1 serrano pepper diced (or two if you like it a bit spicy)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 -4 cloves of sliced garlic
2 Tablespoons Ginger Garlic Paste ** Blend equal amounts of peeled garlic and peeled fresh ginger (1/4 cup of each) into a smooth paste in a food processor - a teaspoon of oil will help it blend smoothly. Will keep refrigerated in a glass jar for at least a month. This stuff is gold - it makes a great base rub on chicken and meats). If you don’t have a food processor, finely mince a tablespoon of ginger and garlic and mix together.
2 teaspoons Spicewalla Cumin Seeds
1 teaspoon Spicewalla Kashmiri Chilli Powder
1 teaspoon Diaspora Co. Turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Spicewalla Cumin Powder
1 teaspoon Spicewalla Coriander Powder (if you can’t find it, it’s okay to skip it)
1 teaspoon Spicewalla Sicilian Sea Salt or any kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Spicewalla Garam Masala
2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
1/4 C Canola oil
1. In a wide bottom pan, heat 1/4 cup of canola oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add the cumin seeds and within 30 secs or so add the diced serrano peppers and then within a minute add the onions with the salt (the salt help the onions cook quicker by drawing out the moisture)
3. When the onions start to lightly brown, add the ginger-garlic paste and cook on medium heat until the onions start turning completely brown. (Careful towards the end, once the onions start to really brown, they can go from brown to burnt very quickly. If you need a moment to get the rest of the ingredients ready, cut the heat first).
4. Add the powders (red chilli, cumin, turmeric, coriander), and when they start to clump together with the onions, add half the cilantro and a 1/4 cup of water. The water helps deglaze the pan, stir and scrape to get all the fond (the good stuff) off the bottom of the pan. The spices cook quickly - within 2 - 3 minutes.
5. Once the water has sizzled and evaporated, add the crushed (or diced tomatoes) with the sliced garlic.
6. Cook the tomatoes on medium for 10 minutes or so until the tomatoes are completely broken down and the mixture looks glossy.
7. Add the spinach (straight out of the bag frozen is fine), and mix well into the tomato-onion-garlic sauce in the pan. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally until spinach has wilted, darkened and is fully integrated with the other ingredients in the pan.
8. Add garam masala, heavy cream, and cubed paneer and cook for another 3-5 minutes until the cream is fully dissolved, and paneer is warmed up and starting to soften.
9. Taste for salt.
10. Garnish with a drizzle of heavy cream, cilantro, and a pinch of grated nutmeg.
1 gallon whole milk
1 pint half-and-half
1 quart whole yogurt
1 tsp of Salt
1. To make fresh paneer at home, bring 1 gallon of whole milk and a pint of half-and-half to a boil.
2. When the milk starts to rise, turn flame down and add 1 teaspoon of salt and one quart of whole yogurt and stir gently until the curds start to separate. The curds will clump together and a greenish-clear liquid (whey) will be left behind. If the curds don't separate, you can add lemon juice (bottled is fine) a squirt or so at a time until the separation starts.
3. Strain the curds through a cheese cloth or a very fine strainer (a chinois is best).
4. Once strained, form into a round mound, place on a plate, put another plate on top and place a heavy weight on top to further press the water out. 5. The cheese will form into a firm wheel and can be sliced, cubed, etc.