Spinach & Paneer and Mung Daal
We have Indian food once a week and spinach & paneer is a bit of a favourite. I have made my own paneer before and it was delicious, but the blocks you buy from the cheese section of the supermarket or from Asian grocery stores are perfectly good too. This recipe makes better spinach & paneer (saag paneer, whatever) than you’ll ever find in a restaurant. As an aside, saag doesn’t necessarily mean ‘spinach’ – it can be another green too, and in India is more likely to be something like mustard greens.
Spinach & Paneer
1 bag/bunch washed spinach leaves (wash it carefully if you’ve bought it from a greengrocer, to get rid of any mud or grit)
1 block paneer, cut into cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp green masala (or 2 green chillies, 1 garlic clove and a small blob of ginger, all finely chopped)
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp dhana jeeru (or 1/4 each of coriander and cumin powder)
1/2 tsp salt
1 bunch fresh methi (fenugreek leaves) – optional
In a big frying pan or saucepan, fry the onions in some oil. The pan you choose needs to be big enough to hold all the greens.
Meanwhile, pick the methi leaves off their stalks and shred them, along with the spinach. You can do this as finely or roughly as you like. My mum doesn’t even both at all - it’s all going to wilt down anyway.
Once the onions are just starting to brown, add the green masala, dried spices and salt.
Stir the mixture and fry for about 30 seconds, and then pile your shredded spinach and methi leaves (if using) on top.
Don’t worry about stirring anything yet, it’ll just make a mess, just turn down the heat a little and put a lid on. This will allow the greens to steam and wilt down.
After a few minutes it should all have reduced in size by about half, which will make stirring a lot easier. Give it a mix and pop the lid back on.
Let the whole thing cook for another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it starts to release too much liquid, just keep the lid off.
The spinach is ready once most of the liquid has cooked off, and the leaves are a deep dark green. It looks delicious when the leaves are bright and fresh, but the flavour won’t be nearly as intense.
Add your paneer and mix everything together, leaving it all to cook until the paneer has heated through completely and softened nicely.
We also had mung daal (recipe will be shared another time), and the last of the tuwar ringan sakh from the other day. All eaten with rice and homemade chapattis.