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 complex...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.
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