Saag Paneer Cheese In Smooth Spiced Greens

A perennial classic, paneer in creamy puréed greens (saag) originally hails from the north of India. The restaurant versions usually use spinach (palak) but whatever you decide on, the spices will lift the curry and make eating your greens an altogether more exotic affair.
Serves 4
Total Time
1 Hour
For the saag paneer & greens
3 tbsp of oil
225-250g of paneer, cut into 2cm cubes
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2.5cm of fresh root ginger, roughly chopped
2 tsp of cumin seeds
1 green chilli, chopped
½ tsp of ground turmeric
½ tsp of chilli powder
100g each of black kale, leafy greens and Swiss chard, washed well
625ml of hot water
1 tsp of salt
½ tsp of garam masala or a pinch of dried fenugreek leaves
To serve
Single cream
Coriander leaves
Lemon or lime halves
Step 1

Put the oil into a pan, place over a medium heat and when it’s hot, seal the paneer on all sides until golden. It will spit, so keep the pan loosely covered, using the lid as a shield to protect you from the oil.

Step 2

Remove the paneer with a slotted spoon, then toss the onion, ginger and garlic into the pan. Cook for five minutes until they soften and start taking on colour, then add the cumin seeds, green chilli, turmeric and chilli powder and sauté for another five minutes.

Step 3

Roughly slice and add the greens, along with 500ml of hot water and the salt. Let the greens cook, uncovered, until they wilt, then turn off the heat.

Step 4

When the contents of the pan have cooled sufficiently for your food processor or blender, tip the greens in and blitz to a smooth paste with the remaining 125ml of water (or use a hand blender.) You should get a thick, creamy and bright green mixture.

Step 5

Pour the saag back into the pan and place over a medium heat. Drop the paneer in, along with the garam masala or fenugreek leaves. Warm the mixture for five minutes until the paneer softens and bubbles start appearing.

Step 6

Scoop into a bowl and finish with a swirl of single cream and a few coriander leaves. Serve with lemon or lime to squeeze over.

Masala by Malika Basu is out now (Bloomsbury, £26)

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