First appeared in Grainews on 15 February 2022
My friend Jyubeen’s version can be made with palak (spinach), mustard greens, amaranth, chard, or other greens. The creamy paneer is spooned into the spinach mixture at the last minute, where it melts into the sauce. Serve with basmati rice.
lemons, juice only
butter, vegetable oil, or ghee
(2 – 3 large bunches) fresh spinach leaves or chard, stalks cut out and chopped, leaves reserved
cloves garlic, minced
minced ginger root
mild paprika or chili powder
the juice of 1 lemon
spearmint and cilantro leaves for garnish
salt to taste
To make the sauce, heat the butter, oil, or ghee in a sauté pan and add the cumin, mustard and bay when the pan is hot. Cook for a minute over medium-high heat, then add the onion. If using chard, cut out the stalks, chop up, reserving the leaves. Add stalks to the pan. Sauté for five to ten minutes. When they soften and begin to colour, season sparingly with salt.
Add the garlic and ginger, turmeric, coriander, paprika or chili powder and tomatoes. Reduce the heat, mix well, stir in a little water to prevent sticking, and add the garam masala. Cook on medium-high heat until tomatoes soften and sauce thickens, about 30 minutes. Add a little water to thin to sauce consistency and puree using an immersion wand or food processor. Keep warm.
Wash the greens leaves, drain but do not spin dry, then puree in a food processor with just the water that clings to the leaves. Add the puree to the onion sauce, bring to a boil and adjust the seasoning with salt and lemon juice.
Take the paneer from the fridge and use two teaspoons to scoop it into the sauce. Heat through, stirring very gently. Serve garnished with spearmint and cilantro.
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