Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saag Paneer (Velvety Greens With Cheese/Tofu Cubes)

Saag Tofu

Emerald green Saag Paneer (pronounced "sahg puh-neer") is a classic Punjabi dish. It is a filling and nutritious dish which can be vegan if you substitute firm tofu for the paneer. Ginger is the predominant spice in this dish. The Punjabi cooks are very generous with butter but I add just enough to give it a bit of flavor.

Other leafy greens such as amaranth, kale, Swiss chard, mustard/turnip greens, etc will work very nicely in this dish - feel free to try them all. When using spinach or chard, I use the stems also - with spinach, the only part that is not used is the pink root end. Swiss chard stems will need cooking a bit longer so you might want to add them first and cook them until soft before adding the leaves.

Tip: To remove the seeds from a green chili, cut in half lengthwise and use a small teaspoon to scoop out the seeds along with the white pith. Use gloves when preparing chilies.


1 lb Spinach or other greens, finely chopped
1 lb Paneer/Firm Tofu, cubed
2 Tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp Whole Cumin Seeds
1 large Onion, finely chopped
1 green chili (Serrano or Jalapeno), seeds removed and minced
2 to 4 Tbsp fresh Ginger, grated
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Red Pepper flakes
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
2 ripe Tomatoes, finely diced
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp Sugar
Butter or vegan alternative, to serve


Heat a little oil in a kadai or skillet and saute the tofu/paneer cubes until lightly browned. A well-seasoned cast iron skillet is great for this. Set aside.

Heat the rest of the oil in the kadai; add the cumin seeds when hot and cook until lightly browned and fragrant.

Stir in the onion, green chili, ginger, spices, and salt; cook until soft.

Add the tomatoes and cook until soft and saucy.

Add the spinach, cover and cook until wilted. You can puree the saag at this point if it looks too chunky - an immersion/stick blender is very convenient for pureeing right in the pan. Also be careful not to puree too much; a bit of texture would be good rather than a smooth paste.

Stir in the paneer/tofu cubes and simmer for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the garam masala on top and mix well.

Taste for seasonings; add the sugar, more salt etc. as needed.

Serve hot with a pat of butter or vegan substitute.

Saag Paneer is delicious served with any type of rice dishes or Indian breads. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it