Saag, also known as sag or saga, can be made with a variety of dark leaf vegetables, though in this recipe, plenty of spinach is in the spotlight. Saag paneer is a dish that somehow manages to be both decadent yet exceptionally nutritious. Also often used are mustard greens, collards, fenugreek, etc. The spinach is wilted down until it’s meltingly soft in a variety of fragrant spices and studded with marinated paneer.
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder, divided (substitute: cayenne powder)
- Kosher salt
- 2 tbsp oil (olive, avocado, sunflower, etc.)
- 12 oz paneer, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 2 lb fresh baby spinach
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 knob ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 large Indian green chili, finely diced (substitute: serrano chile)
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- ½ cup plain low-fat yogurt (Greek or regular)
- Basmati rice, to serve
In a large bowl, whisk together the turmeric, ½ teaspoon chili, salt, and oil. Drop the cubed paneer into the marinade and gently fold until everything is coated. Set aside as you prepare the saag.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the ghee, coriander, and cumin seeds, stirring constantly for 1 minute to bloom. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent and slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, ginger, and remaining chili powder, then cook down for 10 minutes. Over time, the mixture will caramelize with the onions and turn into a jam-like consistency. Don’t skip this part, as this helps develop the foundational flavor of the dish. If the mixture dries out too quickly, add water a tablespoon at a time.
Toss in the spinach leaves by the handful, letting each batch wilt slightly before adding another handful. Once cooked down, remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Transfer everything to a blender, along with the garam masala and turmeric and blend until it forms a coarse yet creamy consistency.
Return the saag to the skillet and add incorporate the yogurt a tablespoon at a time to prevent it from curdling. Turn the heat up to medium and allow the dish to come back up to temperature for about 5 minutes.
Once finished, top with the paneer and spiced oil. Serve with basmati rice.