Spring Saag Paneer

Spring Saag Paneer


saag paneer in bowls

One of my favorite freezer lunch meals is saag paneer.  Saag is typically made with some kind of green – in most Indian restaurants, you’ll find it with spinach.  However, a few years ago, I came across a recipe for saag paneer that was made out of chard, and since then, I’ve been experimenting with various kinds of greens, particularly this time of year when spinach, chard, and other greens are in abundance at the farmer’s market.

As I mentioned in a previous post, there is another vegetable that is abundant this time of year – the hakurei turnip.  I first encountered these in a CSA basket and fell in love with their radish size white globes and sharp turnip taste.  My favorite preparation of these is a refrigerator pickle, but then I’m always left with the dilemma of what to do with the greens.  Most root vegetable greens are edible, and I’ve experimented widely with radish greens, carrot greens, and beet greens.  I have one go-to recipe for the hakureis that uses the entire vegetable, but didn’t want to go to that effort this week.  Instead, I decided to use the hakurei greens, in combination with some chard, to make saag paneer.  Given that I was missing some of the spices I might usually use making saag paneer, I was pleasantly surprised by how spicy the turnip greens make this dish.  This is a lunch that freezes exceptionally well.

paneerpaneer and greens in pansaag paneer and rice

Spring Saag Paneer
Serves 3 or 4

1 package paneer
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch Hakurei turnip greens or other similar greens (radish greens would also work well)
½ bunch chard or kale
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup heavy cream
3 or 4 cups cooked rice

Cube the paneer.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a cast iron or non-stick skillet.  When the oil is hot, put in the paneer and brown on both sides (about five minutes per side on medium heat).  Meanwhile, chop the garlic finely and sauté in a medium saucepan in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Chop the chard/kale and turnip greens coarsely.

When paneer is browned, turn off the skillet and set aside.   Add the greens to the garlic in the saucepan and cook until they are wilted.  Add the spices and salt and combine.  Add the paneer and cook for a few minutes to combine flavors.  Add the heavy cream and cook for another minute over low heat.

Serve over cooked rice.

This post is linked to the No Waste Food Challenge at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.

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