Sunday, February 21, 2016

Indian Saag Paneer

Back in the 1990’s, Newberg, Oregon had an Indian restaurant. I forgot its name after all these years. It was only open for a handful of years. Newberg was not ready for Indian food. When I went there, I had Saag Gosht, a curried spinach and lamb dish. During that time a friend gifted me the cookbook Curries with No Worries. The cookbook had recipes for Saag Gosht and Saag Paneer, curried spinach with paneer cheese. I lost the cookbook in one of my moves. I enjoyed this dish. I have had the Saag Paneer in microwavable format, but it was not as good as the Saag Gosht was fresh.

I decided I could not afford the lamb, it is expensive and hard to find in the grocery stores I can afford to shop in. Plus choosing the paneer helped me decrease my meat intake. I went looking for the paneer version online. I found a recipe on Food Network’s website by Aarti Sequeira. Aarti Sequeira is a chef of Indian descent and winner of Food Network Star Season 6. I liked what I saw in the recipe. Some versions have coconut milk in them, this one did not. It also included a recipe for garam masala, a typical Indian spice mix, and a recipe for paneer cheese, an Indian cheese. Originally I had planned to make this in January of 2016. I was unable to afford it. I moved the dish to the February 2016 menu.

I was able to find garam masala and paneer at Fred Meyer in Newberg, Oregon. The ingredients were turmeric, cayenne, salt, olive oil, paneer cheese, spinach, onion, ginger, garlic, serrano chile, garam masala, ground coriander, ground cumin, and yogurt. This recipe uses yogurt instead of coconut milk. It is usually serve with roti, an Indian flatbread, or basmati rice.

I made this on February 4, 2016. I served it over basmati rice. It was not as spicy as I wished. I will not seed or vein the serrano next time. I loved this dish. The paneer cheese has a crispness to them during the fresh serving. In reheating the dish the cheese loses that texture. More heat is something I wished for. Overall this was a tasty dish and positively worth making again.

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