Sydney chef and restaurateur Ajay Raj shares his recipe for a classic Indian saag paneer – one of the most popular vegetarian curries on his menu. If you wish, shallow fry the paneer in a little oil until golden brown before adding to the spinach. Ajay says this makes the paneer taste better.
- 2 bunches fresh spinach leaves, trimmed, washed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 brown onion, chopped
- 2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tomato, finely chopped
- 1 green chilli pepper, diced
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- Paneer (Indian ricotta cheese), chopped into cubes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Half-fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the spinach and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from saucepan, drain and set aside to cool. When completely cool, place the spinach in the jug of a blender and process until a puree forms.
In a separate pan, heat the oil and add cumin seeds. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, tomato and chilli. Sautee until the onion is brown. Season with salt. Add the garam masala and turmeric powder. Add the spinach puree. Cook, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the the paneer. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.