saag paneer recipe

And here's yet another Indian restaurant favorite, well one of my favorites. Saag paneer. If we're being honest, just about any dish with paneer is favorable to me.

The reason saag paneer is so epically delicious at the restaurant is due to the immense amounts of cream poured into the dish. Does it taste absolutely heavenly? Yes. But is it any good for you? No. Thankfully, there's yogurt (aka New York's potential official state snack.) And yogurt works as a wonderful and healthy substitute to make this saag paneer dish.

Click read more to view the recipe!

(P.S Happy mother's day!!)

One of my pet peeves is when people claim that a healthier version of something is just as tasty as the guilty pleasure version. Obviously foods filled with sugar and fats and everything nice are going to taste better. Case in point, I decided to venture out and try out one of those healthy, juice bars some time ago. I mean, I live in LA, there's one of these joints on every block. My hopes were high after reading a review of a drink which was supposed to taste "just like ice cream." Let's just say my taste buds were sadly disappointed. Basically, I don't appreciate the deception. But just because a "lighter" dish isn't as yummy as the original, doesn't mean it can't be tasty in its own right.

So here's a tasty but not in the mm-much-heavy-cream-wow way recipe. You can eat this and not feel sick from the immense amounts of Indian food you just gobbled up. I used the recipe off the food network site, but made a few small adjustments. Here it goes:

1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Pinch of salt
3 / 1 tablespoons olive oil
12-16 oz paneer (this depends on whatever size you can find at your grocery store)
2.5-3 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced ginger
4 cloves garlic
1 large green serrano chile
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup plain yogurt

1) Mix together turmeric, cayenne, 1 tsp salt, and 3 tablespoons oil. You'll want your bowl to be big enough to hold your paneer.
2) Chop up your paneer into small cubes, around 1x1 inches. Drop into your mixture. Let this marinate while you prepare the rest of the meal.
3) Wash and chop your spinach. You don't have to chop it too finely because it will greatly reduce in volume when you add in water later on. Set aside.
4) Chop your onions, chile, and garlic. Peel and chop your ginger. Set aside in a different bowl from the spinach. 
5) Heat skillet over medium heat. 
6) Fry the paneer. Make sure each paneer is browned at least on one side. Then toss it around a bit to make sure that the outsides are golden or brown in color.
7) Remove the paneer from the pan.
8) Add the remaining oil to the pan and toss in minced onions, chile, garlic, and ginger. Cook this mixture for around 15 minutes, until it turns a toffee color. If it starts to dry out, feel free to add a tablespoon or two of water. Don't skip this step!
9) Add in garam masala, coriander, and cumin. If your dish is dry, add in some water. 
10) Stir it around for about 3-5 minutes until it becomes fragrant.
11) Add in the spinach and stir well. Add in 1/4 cup of water. If you feel like you need more, add it in one tablespoon at a time. I needed around 2 more.
12) Add salt to taste.
13) Turn off heat, let it cool a bit for a few minutes.
14) Add in yogurt in small amounts and mix well. You do not want it to curdle! 
15) After all the yogurt is mixed in, add in the paneer. Turn the heat back on and cook for around 5 minutes so everything is warmed up.
16) Eat! You can serve it with naan, roti, or in my case-- brown jasmine rice.

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