‘Paneer’ is a popular cheese in the South Asian region. With ‘paneer’, a variety of dishes can be prepared as it maintains shape without melting while cooking. I normally enjoy making ‘paneer’ with ‘saag’ during the summer season when I crave light, simple food which tastes delectable.
In Pakistani households saag is commonly stewed with ginger, garlic and aromatic spices. I find that this recipe is wonderfully spicy and quite rich as I use heavy cream. We can also use plain yogurt in place of heavy cream.
- 1 pound fresh spinach
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
- 8 ounces paneer, cut into small pieces
- ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 3-4 fresh Thai red chili, small size, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, crushed
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon raw coriander, roughly crushed
- 1 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Salt as needed
- 3 tablespoons ghee (2 tablespoons for cooking saag and 1 tablespoon for frying paneer)
In a food processor, add spinach and dill. Blend until it is in a roughly minced form rather than pureed. Set aside.
Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry ‘paneer’ for 4-5 minutes per side until golden-brown. Set aside.
Using the same skillet, add ghee and onion, and season with black peppers and salt. Reduce heat, stir rapidly, and cook onions until they are softened. Add garlic and ginger until fragrant. Then add turmeric, cumin seeds, chili flakes, crushed coriander, star anise, and a cinnamon stick, then constantly stir until well combined.
Add spinach and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Combine heavy cream, ‘paneer’ and Thai red chili, reduce heat, and cook for about 5 minutes until everything is well combined. Adjust salt and serve with bread or rice.