April 15, 2011

Matar Saag Paneer : Indian Cheese with Spinach and Peas

Saag and matar are two of my favorite Indian dishes, spinach and peas respectively cooked in a fragrant tomato sauce. I especially like them combined and served with fried paneer, which is a form of Indian cheese. For recipes and ideas, such as this curry, I generally turn to Julie Sahni's book Classic Indian Cooking. A few weeks ago, I decided to make homemade paneer, which was surprisingly easy and satisfying and became the inspiration for and main ingredient in this dish, based on recipes in Classic Indian Cooking.

Paneer may be found at specialty grocery stores or paneer from scratch. Meat such as chicken or lamb may be used instead of paneer.

2 c paneer, cut into ½ inch cubes

1 c cooked spinach

1 c peas, fresh or frozen

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, pressed or finely chopped

1 c tomatoes, fresh or canned, finely chopped

1 ½ c hot water

6 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil

1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp turmeric

¼ tsp black pepper

½ tsp paprika

1 tsp flour

1 tsp garam masala

2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

salt

1. Spread paneer on a clean dish towel and allow cubes to dry slightly, about 30 minutes. Dust paneer in flour. Heat 3 tbsp ghee or oil in a medium over medium heat. Working in small batches, add paneer to skillet and fry, turning evenly until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. In a large heavy pan or Dutch oven, heat ghee or oil used for frying and remaining ghee or oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until slightly brown, stirring constantly. Add garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add coriander, turmeric, paprika, black pepper, sauté for about 10 seconds and add tomatoes. Cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.

3. Add 1 ¼ c water and spinach and bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and cool slightly before puréeing sauce with an immersion blender or other food processor.

4. Return sauce to the large pan over medium heat and add peas, fried paneer and ¼ c water. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until peas are cooked. Remove from heat, season to taste with salt, cover and allow dish to rest at least 1 hour before serving.

5. Reheat, adding garam masala and cilantro and gently combine before serving. Serve over basmati rice or with Indian bread.

Serves 3-4

3 comments:

SAMIMI-EXTREMIE said...

ooooo i am going to give this one a try asap. also --- do you have an excellent tikka masala recipe? i cant seem to find the best one...shall i refer to this book you rec'd?? hit me back on email if not here. i love you.

myownprivatekitchen said...

hey. sorry for the delay. I have been working on a tikka masala recipe. I will send it to you via email. xoxoxo

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