Saag paneer

I find I need to be a bit more cautious with spicing my curries now that I’m eating low carb since I don’t have rice to bring down the heat. (Of course, I could add extra yogurt or eat raita on the side.) I’ve made saag paneer using a bunch of different recipes. This one is good and relatively easy.

1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (I used crushed chiles – if your chiles or cayenne is fresh, this makes for a fairly spicy dish)
vegetable oil
12 ounces paneer, either store-bought or homemade, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used store bought)
1 package frozen chopped spinach (mine was 10 oz, the original recipe called for 16)
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 (1-inch thumb) ginger, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green serrano chile, finely chopped (omitted)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup plain yogurt, stirred until smooth (I used sour cream for a bit extra fat/less carbohydrate)
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.

Heat some oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the paneer. Brown on several sides, turning and tossing as it browns. Scrape the paneer and any browned bits onto a plate and set aside.

Add more oil to the pan. Add the turmeric, crushed chiles, onions, ginger, garlic, and chile, if using. Saute the mixture until everything is soft and beginning to brown (as best you can tell with the turmeric.) 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 cook out, and it all smells a bit more melodious, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the spinach and stir well, incorporating the spiced onion mixture into the spinach. Add about a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup of water, stir, and cook about 5 minutes with the lid off.

Turn the heat off. Add the yogurt or sour cream, a little at a time to keep it from curdling. Once the yogurt is well mixed into the spinach, add the paneer. Turn the heat back on, cover and cook until everything is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Serve.