Saag Paneer

 

Serves 4 to 6

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Saag paneer, soft cubes of creamy fresh cheese in a spicy spinach puree, is an Indian restaurant classic. We found that re-creating this dish at home wasn’t nearly as difficult as we expected—even with making our own fresh cheese. Instead of cooking the spinach in batches on the stovetop for the spinach puree, we simply wilted it all in the microwave. Adding mustard greens lent additional texture and a complexity that worked well with the warm spices. Canned diced tomatoes brightened the dish, and buttery cashews—both pureed and chopped—gave our Indian classic a subtle nutty richness. Use commercially produced cultured buttermilk in this recipe. Basmati rice is the traditional accompaniment. You will need a 12-inch skillet with a tight-fitting lid for this recipe.

1 (10-ounce) bag curly-leaf spinach, rinsed

¾ pound mustard greens, stemmed and rinsed

3 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 onion, chopped fine

¾ teaspoon table salt

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and chopped coarse

½ cup roasted cashews, chopped coarse, divided

1 cup water

1 cup buttermilk

1 recipe Homemade Paneer (this page), cut into ½-inch pieces

3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1 Microwave spinach in covered bowl until wilted, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly, then chop enough spinach to measure ⅓ cup. Transfer remaining spinach to blender. Microwave mustard greens in covered bowl until wilted, about 4 minutes. Let cool slightly, then chop enough mustard greens to measure ⅓ cup; combine with chopped spinach. Transfer remaining mustard greens to blender with remaining spinach.

2 Meanwhile, melt butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds, coriander, paprika, cardamom, and cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add onion and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about

3 minutes. Stir in garlic, ginger, and jalapeño and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and just beginning to stick to pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook mixture until pan is dry and tomatoes are beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. 3 Transfer half of onion mixture, ¼ cup cashews, and water to blender with greens and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Stir puree, chopped greens, and buttermilk into skillet with remaining onion mixture and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until flavors have blended, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently fold in paneer pieces and cook until just heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup cashews and cilantro, and serve.