Saag Paneer (Spinach Paneer)
Paneer is an Indian cheese that's easy to make at home. It's basically milk that is 'set' with the addition of either vinegar or lemon juice.
Paneer reminds me of tofu, with a similar texture and an impressive ability to absorb the flavours of other ingredients, such as a rich coconut sauce or a spicy spinach curry. Adapted from a Madhur Jaffrey recipe.
2½cm (1in) piece of fresh ginger, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 fresh green chilli, sliced
2 tablespoons of water
6 tablespoons sunflower oil
175g (6oz) paneer (see next recipe), cut in 2cm (1in) cubes
¼ teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
675g (1½lb) spinach, washed, trimmed and chopped
75ml (2½fl oz) cream
100ml (3½fl oz) water
Rice or parathas, to serve
Place the chopped fresh ginger, the peeled garlic cloves and the sliced green chilli into a food processor or a blender, along with the two tablespoons of water, then blend until you have a smooth paste.
Next, put the sunflower oil in a large pan on a medium heat. When the sunflower oil is hot, add the paneer pieces and fry them, turning them over gently until they are golden brown on all sides. This will happen quickly. Remove the paneer using a slotted spoon, then place the cooked paneer pieces on a plate. Sprinkle with a little salt, the garam masala and the cayenne pepper, and set aside.
Add the paste you made earlier to the remaining hot oil and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes until it is a light golden colour. Add the chopped spinach and a good pinch of salt. Stir together, then cover and cook for 3-4 minutes until the spinach has wilted.
Next add the paneer pieces and the cream and 100ml (3½fl oz) of water. Stir gently and bring to a simmer. Cover and continue to cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then remove from the heat and serve with rice or a few parathas.