November 10, 2009

I ♥ You, Saag Paneer! And a Competition!

saag paneer

It’s sad. Yet true. I am such a paneer fiend. I bet you £5 (that’s all I have) that my dad says to me tomorrow after reading this post, that I shouldn’t keep making paneer dishes. Of course he is right.

Moving swiftly on… I use a 1:1 ratio of saag (mustard leaves) to spinach because I prefer a more subtle mustard flavour, which can often overpower the dish. If you don’t use enough saag you will produce a dish resembling palak (spinach) paneer, which is equally delicious but technically not saag paneer. If you would like to add less saag you will create delicate flavoured curry which will not be as pungent as traditional dishes (such as sarson ka saag from north India). I love the combination of this hot, buttery and spicy green sauce with soft paneer (sorry dad) and I am sure many of you do too. Otherwise it would not be one of the most popular dishes on Indian restaurant menus all over the world. Imagine that… saag paneer takes over the world! = Heaven on Earth… but hell for our diets. Hey, we can’t have everything now can we?

Or can we? If you don’t think you can handle a heavy dish like this then you can always substitute the paneer for tofu, potatoes, chickpeas (channa/chole) or serve the saag and spinach puree on its own with makai ka roti like they do in north India. I enjoy my saag paneer best with this makai ka roti or if I’m feeling lazy… naan. Typical.

Oh and I have to add, I recently bought the worst immersion blender ever from a well known supermarket, not mentioning any names (ahem. The one whose adverts play the rubbish Take That song. Ahem). You could argue that you get what you pay for (£6) but if I buy something for even a relatively small amount of money (compared to other brands on the market), I expect it to actually work. It took 8 minutes of constant blending (with quick breaks) to get the soft, cooked leaves to become what you could call ‘pureed’. I would have gone on longer but I was afraid the motor may have burned out. So now I’m just going to pinch the one from home (sorry mum- I’ll give it back!) So that’s the wonderfully boring story of the rubbish, cheap immersion blender over with.

However, I digress. So yeah, back to saag paneer. Here’s my recipe, please do try it and let me know what you think!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

125g saag, washed and chopped with any tough stalks removed
125g spinach, washed and chopped
Pinch baking powder
Water as required
5 cloves garlic, minced (Mr leafy green’s best friend)
3 tbsp ginger, minced
4 green chillies, minced (I like it hot!)
1 large onion, finely chopped or minced
1 tomato, pureed
1 tbsp ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp fennel powder
½ tsp star anise powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 cup paneer, cubed
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste (if required)
2 tsp butter (optional)


1. Boil your greens with a pinch of baking powder (this keeps it green!) until tender. Drain most of the water then puree, preferably with a blender which is better than mine. Set aside.

saag greens

Chopped saag waiting for its buddy spinach

2. Heat the ghee in a large pan (I used a wok) and add the mustard seeds. Once they have popped, add the cumin, asafoetida, onions, garlic, chillies and ginger.

saag paneer 4

Done using the old skool chopper

Allow this mixture to cook until the onions have lost all their shape and almost become dissolved into the paste.

3. Add the tomatoes, cumin powder and coriander powder. Allow this to cook in the same way as the onions.

saag paneer 5

Chopped tomatoes courtesy of the magical Indian chilli chopper

4. When the mixture has reduced down into a soft paste, add the saag mixture along with the fennel powder and star anise powder. Cook this until the water has evaporated and the mixture oozes out oil. Add garam masala, salt and sugar if you need to. Bring the mixture back up to the consistency you would like and add cream and butter if you wish.

5. Add the paneer raw or cooked (I grilled mine slightly for some texture). Grab a roti, naan, paratha, bhatura, bowl of rice or even just a spoon… and munch away!

saag paneer 2


Now, I challenge you to ‘Create for a Chilli Chopper!’

Create for a chilli chopper

After having so much trouble with kitchen gadgets I have discovered my new found love for all things old skool. Traditional and reliable gadgets are the best! Which is why to one lucky reader, I am giving away a traditional Indian chilli chopper, like the one I have used in this recipe to mince not only chillies, but onions, garlic, ginger and even tomatoes! Please do not be fooled by its aged appearance, but rather charmed by its rustic form. Who needs fancy electrical techno wizardry when you can go back to basics and make life a little simpler? So here are the details of how to win a precious little gadget like this one.

saag paneer 3
Don’t worry, I won’t send you my used one! I’m not that much of a miser!

All you have to do to win this little chopper is to produce a creative vegetarian dish of your own personal choice. That’s it. But remember, be creative!


1. Please state on the post that you are sending it to this competition and if possible, please use the logo (under the competition title). Only one recipe per person, please.

2. If you are using an archived recipe, please repost it stating that you are sending it to Sanjana @ KO Rasoi’s ‘Create for a Chilli Chopper’ competition.

3. Please try to add pictures to your recipe so that we can see how yummy and creative they are!

4. Please e-mail your entry, along with your name, the name of your blog and a link to the post on your blog to: sanju_modha (at) hotmail (dot) co (dot) uk. Non-bloggers can also enter by sending their recipes and pictures via e-mail.

5. Entries must be received by 31st December 2009 at 23:59 GMT. The winner will be announced soon after.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to ask me! 🙂

Wishing you all the best of luck!

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29 responses to “I ♥ You, Saag Paneer! And a Competition!”

  1. meeso says:

    Saag Paneer looks mouthwatering! My bf called me yesterday to make fun of Food Network Iron Chef's trying to create this dish… Ah well… I think I will have to enter to try to win that neat little chili chopper!

  2. Tasty Trix says:

    Omg fun … This speaks to me on many levels: 1. I love saag paneer, and paneer in general, 2. I am currently obsessed with contests 3. I would love that gadget, and 4. I definitely want to send you a recipe! So cheers on all fronts, my dear!

  3. Rohini says:

    Looks yummy, as always.. But I have never tried to this day, any saag dishes *Shame on you Rohini*
    So 2 things noted for self 1. Make the Saag dish, (of course with Paneer, as I am a Paneer-fanatic too!) as Sanju has said!
    2. Try to rack my brain and come out with a creative veggie dish!

    My assignment for today!! 🙂

  4. Divina Pe says:

    That looks delicious. I haven't even done the paneer. I have to do that soon. So, anyone can join?

  5. kitchen queen says:

    The saag paneer looks absolutely fantastic and delicious with a beautiful picture.

  6. bigarade says:

    OMG you paneer fiend,i am a saag fiend!
    Lol! i love seeing different recipes for saag! this one looks pretty cool i may try it out.

    p.s freeze me some saag 😀 i will come collect it some day!

  7. Vidya Rao says:

    Thats a super textured Saag..I've never tasted Saag 😛 ..after going through this post, I will definetely try to get hold of them, if available, near north pole !!:P ..I mean, Finland 🙂

  8. Vegetable Matter says:

    I can definitely handle such a heavy dish. Paneer is the best — keep the recipes coming. Who cares what dad says? I always thought palak paneer and saag paneer were the same thing. Now I know the difference. I'd never have guessed that mustard greens are the secret ingredient. Can you fed ex us a few servings???

  9. Sanjana says:

    Meeso- Thank you for you comments 🙂 Please do enter the competition, the chopper is awesome 😀

    Tasty Trix- Haha 😀 The chopper is so handy and so much more fun than any electric blender! And please don't get me started on how yummy anything with paneer is! I have a paneer problem 🙁 Hehe, please do enter the comp to win the chilli chopper! 😀

    Rohini- Aww I hope you make some saag paneer soon because it's SOO yummy! I could actually eat it all day! I look forward to receiving your recipe for the chilli chopper competition! 😀

    Divina- Awh I hope you find the time to do so soon 🙂 If you don't the spinach and saag sauce is amazing on its own too! And of course anybody can join the competition 🙂

    Kitchen Queen- Thank you for your lovely compliments 🙂 I really appreciate them!

    Bigarade- Haha, we can be fiends together! Please do try it and let me know what you think! I'll put some in the freezer for you but I cannot offer any guarantees it will still be there by the time you get here :p

    Vidya- I do hope you find some saag all the way up there! 😀 If not then… you could just cheat the system a little and replace the saag in the recipe for all spinach and use mustard oil instead of ghee (add a little more mustard oil than you would ghee) to temper the spices. Viola! Palak paneer with all the flavours of saag paneer! 😉 Enjoy!

    Vegetable Matter- Haha, I would but the Fex Ex guys may eat it all… In which case I could not possibly be blamed 😉 Yup, mustard leaves are the secret but like I said to Vidya (above), if you cannot find any (or grow any) then you can always use all spinach and then use mustard oil (which is very strong in flavour). Happy eating!

  10. experimentalculinarypursuits says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Paneer, but have never made it before. My tastebuds can definitely handle the heavy dish, though not so sure about my waistline 😉

    And about this contest…Seeing as how ALL my recipes are vegetarian, I'm sure it fits your first criteria. But the "creativity" factor is a harder one. I get so undecisive in these times that I almost want you to tell me which one to submit! haha

  11. Sanjana says:

    Experimentalculinarypursuits- It's really easy to make paneer at home 🙂 Or you can use store-bought if you like (I usually do!)

    All of your recipes are fantastic and creative so any of them would be perfect for this! 😀

  12. meeso says:

    I'm sorry, I was unable to get an email through to you… Will you be allowing multiple entries, like in any event?

  13. Sanjana says:

    Hi Meeso 🙂 If you click on the 'contact me' underneath the KO Rasoi logo at the top of the page the email address should come up but let me know if you have any more problems with it. The original plan was to only allow one entry per person just to keep everything fair and simple 🙂 Hope this helps! I look forward to receiving your creative recipe! 😀

  14. Sushma Mallya says:

    wow thats a lovely pic,so healthy and yet so yummy…nice recipe as well

  15. Nandini says:

    What a coincidence! I made saag paneer too for lunch for my family! Anyway, yours is palatable and droolworthy!

  16. Mae says:

    I had to look up "Asafoetida" and love that Wiki says of it: "…also known as devil's dung, Stinking gum, and Food of the Gods." Talk about contradictions! But it sounds like when cooked it tastes like leeks? Fascinating stuff! And here I've been eating my Saag Paneer without ever questioning this ingredient!

    Thanks for the yummy post!

  17. Sh... says:

    Looks so lovely. I enjoyed all ur pics..I usually add some aloo as I dont like it that green and raw paneer..:)

  18. Pavithra says:

    Saag paneer Looks so yumm and nice clicks and looks delicious. Nobody can say no to this yummy healthy dish.

  19. Kitchen Flavours says:

    Oh wow….that's an yum recipe…..looks aromatic and flavourful…..

  20. SE(Denufood) says:

    yuuummmmmm this looks so delicious…nice clicks too!!

  21. Swarna says:

    wow ..thats one yummy dish u posted..very tempting ..nice to read ur blog..quite interesting blog ..gonna follow ur blog..pls do visit mine when possible

  22. Sanjana says:

    Thank you all so much for your supportive comments 🙂

    Mae- Yeah it's got some weird names! I'll do a post on it soon seeing as thought I add it to pretty much all of my Indian dishes 🙂

  23. Cool Lassi(e) says:

    Thanks a bunch for following me. My budding blog site needs that kind of encouragement and support.Swing by whenever!

  24. Gulmohar says:

    Never tried any sag dishes at home. Now I have the recipe 🙂 The competition sounds interesting 🙂

  25. Malar Gandhi says:

    WOw Sanjana, pictures look too sharp, dear…loved it to the core, just can't take my eyes away…lovely paneer saag:)

  26. Kanchan says:

    Awesome click yaar, and an event wow !
    Creative dish … now i really need to think a lot ! done babes do find my entry soon 🙂

  27. Cool Lassi(e) says:

    Count me in for this competition.Now Cool Lassi(e) puts on her thinking hat,walks back and forth,forefinger tapping on her puckered lips, thinking of a nifty dish that just might give her an egde to nail this culinary gizmo. Adios Amigo.

  28. Divya Vikram says:

    You have amazing recipes! The paneer floating on top looks divine!

  29. sangeeta says:

    saag in any form is a daily affair with me…
    i am absolutely for the old school cooking , you know i crafted my own wooden chopping board ( when my in law's house was being constructed , i picked up the leftover wood pieces n the tools n started ) he he…
    the fancy gadgets need so much of maintenance…headache..

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