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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Kale and Spinach Saag Paneer

Kale and Spinach Saag Paneer


Kale can be quite crunchy and reluctant to give up its structural integrity even when cooked to a mush. But, the texture and flavor it brings to the original spinach recipe, called Saag Paneer, is wonderful.

For smoky spiciness, and since fusion cuisine is my signature and preferred style, I brought in some chipotle in adobo sauce plus some lemongrass to spice up this Indian staple.

Paneer can be homemade or store-bought. Several online resources show a step by step procedure for making paneer at home-- it does take time, so, plan ahead. However, many Indian stores sell packaged paneer which works just as well.

Sometimes I saute the paneer cubes before adding it to the mix, but I omit this step here-- the clear blandness it brings balances the spiciness of the kale and spinach mix.

Ingredients
4 cups finely chopped fresh kale
2 cups chopped frozen spinach, thawed

spices and flavoring:
1 chipotle chile, finely chopped, in about 1 Tbsp of adobo sauce
a bit of crushed lemongrass or 1 tsp of lemongrass powder
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp garam masala powder
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice

¼ to ½ cup heavy cream
1 cup cubed paneer (more if preferred)

salt to taste
1 Tbsp ghee or canola oil or coconut oil or olive oil

Preparation

  1. Pressure cook kale and spinach with some salt
  2. Blend the kale and spinach to a mush
  3. heat oil/ghee in a pan, add the spices and flavoring ingredients, mushed kale+spinach, stir well and allow to simmer gently
  4. Slide in the paneer (sauteed or plain) and simmer a bit more
  5. Off heat, stir in heavy cream, a little at a time, to desired consistency and flavor
  6. Optional Tempering: heat ghee or oil in a pan, break some dried red chiles and add to the hot oil, add some cumin seeds; remove from heat and add to the dish before serving


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