Spicy Saag Paneer
It happens every summer – my CSA farm here in Colorado begins harvesting more and more vegetables each week, and each week I’m challenged by what to do with everything I’m getting. Early in the summer there are lots of greens like this photo: mustard greens, escarole, kale, pak choi, Swiss chard, and more. Sometimes I just blanche, chop and freeze the greens, too overwhelmed to figure out how to use them all before they go bad. Sometimes I come up with delicious recipes on the spot, like my Smashed Potatoes with Escarole and Bacon recipe. Sometimes I’m fixated on an idea, like this week when I was dreaming of the saag from my 2019 trip to India. Saag is mostly made with spinach, but after a little consultation with the Internet and my chef daughter, I decided to try using the greens I had on hand.This recipe is really easy to make, and makes wonderful leftovers for lunch the next day. You can just make the saag, or you can add the cheese to make saag paneer.Serve with basmati rice, and although you don’t really need a protein if you include the cheese, I found this great alongside a pan seared pork chop.
- 4 tablespoons ghee (or just use butter like I did)
- 1 large onion, diced small
- Salt and pepper
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1-inch knob of fresh ginger, grated finely (see Notes)
- 1¼ to 1½ pounds greens (I used a mix of mustard greens, Swiss chard, and kale), washed
- ½ cup heavy cream
- A pinch of cinnamon, ground cloves, salt, cumin, and coriander
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or more butter)
- 8 ounces paneer (or use halloumi like I did), cut into small cubes, optional
- Heat the ghee or butter in a large skillet over medium high heat until bubbly, then add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and reduced heat to medium low. Cook until soft and slightly browned, about 10-15 minutes. Add the jalapeño, garlic, and ginger, stir together, and cook another few minutes.
- Start adding the greens in batches to the pan and cook, turning with tongs, until they begin to wilt. Remove the greens with the tongs leaving the onions in the pan and set aside in a bowl. Repeat with remaining greens until they are all wilted.
- Place half of the greens and onion mixture into the bowl of a food processor and add ¼ cup of the cream. Pulse about 20 times until the mixture is finely minced. Remove to a bowl, add the remaining greens and cream and repeat.
- Combine all of the minced greens in the original skillet and season with the spices. Bring to a very low simmer, cover, and cook for about 10 more minutes.
- While the saag is simmering, heat the oil in another pan and add the cheese cubes. Cook for a couple of minutes, until lightly browned, and flip a couple of times with a metal spatula.
- Add the browned cheese cubes to the saag, stir gently, and serve.