Monday, February 10, 2014

Shiva Indian Restaurant: Saag Paneer

I can't even remember when I first started eating Indian food.  I'm sure a friend dragged me to a buffet and pointed at what wasn't too scary for a naive white girl.  But it was a revelation.  Indian food is so full of spice (and not just the hot stuff)...that it hits your tongue like a little nuclear bomb.  Yes, I think it's that good.

I always look for saag paneer when I visit an Indian restaurant, and I just can't seem to make it through a home-cooked Indian meal without making a pot for the side.  Except for the side turns into enough-for-lunch-for-a-week.  Not that I mind.

Saag Paneer
Adapted from Shiva Indian Restaurant in Houston, TX

1 large onion
6 cloves garlic
1 ounce fresh ginger
1 (1-pound) bag frozen chopped spinach
1 cup plain Greek or Indian yogurt
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1 cup heavy whipping cream
6-8 ounces paneer, cut into small cubes
1½ to 2 teaspoons salt, to taste
Pinch of sugar

Grind the onion, garlic, and ginger into a fine paste.

In a medium saucepan, combine the paste, spinach, yogurt, buttermilk, and spices.  Simmer at medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes.  Pour the spinach mixture carefully into a large food processor or blender.  Process until the spinach is creamier and no longer chunky, 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Pour the mixture back into the pan.

Add the whipping cream and simmer the mixture for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the spinach has a thick, creamy consistency.  Add the cheese, and simmer for 5 minutes until warmed through.  Season with salt and a pinch of sugar if the spinach is too sour.

Makes 6 servings

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