Lavanya Mahate shows us how to make saag panir.
Saag or Palak is Hindi for spinach. Saag Panir is a popular Indian dish where spinach is slow cooked, pureed prior to being cooked in tomatoes, onions and spices and cubed panir added towards the end. Can be served with rice or flatbreads.
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) optional
1 tsp cumin seeds
Spinach-1 (16-ounce package) frozen chopped spinach
1 medium onion chopped finely
1 medium tomato diced
1 tablespoon- ginger-garlic paste
1 large green serrano chile, finely chopped (seeds removed if you don't like it spicy!)
1 teaspoon store-bought or homemade garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt to taste
2 cups cubed panir
½ cup fresh cream
Thaw the spinach in the microwave in a microwave-safe dish, 5 minutes on high, then puree in a food processor until smooth. Alternatively, you can chop it up very finely with your knife.
Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add oil to the pan. Add cumin seeds and dried fenugreek to hot oil and slightly roast the spices. Add the onions, ginger, garlic, and chilies and sauté for about 15 minutes. If you feel like the mixture is drying out and burning, add a couple of tablespoons of water.
Add the garam masala, coriander, and cumin. If you haven't already, sprinkle a little water to keep the spices from burning. Cook, stirring often until the raw scent of the spices cooks out, and it all smells a bit more fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and sauté further five minutes.
Add the pureed spinach and stir well, incorporating the spiced onion mixture into the spinach. Add a little salt and 1 cup of water, stir and cook about 10 minutes with the lid off.
Add panir cubes and cream. Heat through till the mixture gets hot. Serve with steamed rice or flatbreads.