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Saag Paneer

My favorite Indian dish has to be Saag Paneer - and this serves as a great base recipe.

Time

Yield

Ingredients

Ingredients

Paneer

1 gallon whole milk
5 lemons, juiced
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1 tbsp. salt
extra vinegar, if necessary

Saag

3 lbs. spinach
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 md. onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. ginger, chopped
2 green chilies
2 roma tomatoes
1 tbsp. coriander, ground
1 tbsp. cumin, ground
1 tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. garam masala, ground
1 tbsp. dried fenugreek leaves
Whipping cream, optional

Instructions

Pour the milk, salt and ground cumin into the pot. Bring the milk to a simmer. Keep it there for about 5 minutes. Remove the simmered milk from the heat, and start to slowly stir in the lemon juice, about a tablespoonful at a time. The milk will begin to curdle. This is "curds and whey". If it doesn't curdle, add a tiny bit of vinegar. Keep stirring until the curds are thick, and the whey is only slightly cloudy. Put some ice into the pot to cool down the curds and whey to a manageable temperature. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth then strain off the whey, keeping the curds. Wrap them up, and squeeze the cloth to get the whey out. Open up the cloth and look at the curds. Taste, and if it needs a bit more salt, add some. Fold the curds up in the cloth, in a square-ish block. Put the block on one cutting board, place the other cutting board on top, then balance the big pot full of cold water on top or use "c" clamps to keep them squeezed together.

After you have pressed out the whey. Remove the paneer from the cheesecloth and cut into large, bite-sized cubes.

For the Saag:

Start a pot of boiling water to cook your spinach. Drop the spinach into the boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the spinach from the water and transfer directly to a blender. Pour out as much liquid as you can before blending it to a puree.

Preheat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the oil and whole cumin seeds and cook for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Add the garlic, ginger and onions and sauté for 5-10 minutes. Add the chilies and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Now add the ground spices and cook for 5 more minutes. Pour your blended spinach mixture into the sautéing mixture and stir until everything becomes homogenous. Cook this until the oil separates from the Saag. It should look like little droplet on top. Now add your homemade paneer cheese and cook until warmed through. Add heavy cream if desired. Season with salt.

Author's Comments

Courtesy of the cooking class at handsongourmet.com

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