Looking to Cook Up Some Flavor

I’m a big fan of Spinach Saag Paneer, an Indian dish that features a creamy cooked spinach and homemade cheese called paneer. I decided that making paneer was beyond my ability (and level of patience in the kitchen) therefore I determined that Spinach Saag Aloo (Aloo referring to potatoes) was more my speed. After an extensive search and watching way too many YouTube cooking videos, I selected a recipe.

Spinach Saag Aloo
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 potato peeled and diced into bite-sized pieces
1 small onion, diced finely
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh serrano pepper, minced (which I omitted from the recipe)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground dried Kashmiri red chilis or paprika for a milder flavor
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoons ground coriander
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root
2 – 3 tablespoons water for potatoes
1 – 1 1/2 cups water for onions/spinach
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

I was very nervous but took a deep breath and plunged ahead:
1. Heat butter and oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat and add cumin seeds.
2. When cumin seeds begin to sizzle, add onion and sautΓ© until soft and translucent.
3. Add garlic and ginger to onions stirring until garlic is fragrant, then add turmeric, garam masala, paprika, and coriander stirring well. Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups water and then simmer for ~ 5 minutes while the potatoes cook.
4. Place diced potatoes in a microwave dish with 2 – 3 tablespoons of water and cook until fork tender ~ 5 minutes.
5. Add the spinach to the pot and cook until it starts to fall apart, stirring frequently.
6. Remove from heat and blend using an immersion blender until spinach is creamy.
7. Add potatoes, stir and serve hot with rice or naan.

It wasn’t too difficult to make and by omitting the peppers (fresh serrano and red chili powder) and substituting the paprika instead it wasn’t so hot that I couldn’t handle it. I served it over rice and it was delicious. Though next time I make it I’m going to add more potatoes and reduce the water and drain the spinach better!

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58 thoughts on “Looking to Cook Up Some Flavor

  1. sounds delicious πŸ˜‹ I might copy out the spices and use them in my spinach from the microwave at home; – read as I am munching chinese take-out brought back to my hotel room: veggie spring rolls with noodles and sweet and sour sauce. The trick is the box: Bring the portion down to manageable size. And you get a fork with it to go, in lieu of chop sticks. Bon apetit to both of us. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks Michel! I am trying to introduce a new main dish or side dish once a month… some will be a one and done never to grace the table again and others (like this one) will show up again and again!!

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          1. I’m a spice fan but some things are just too hot. I’ve eaten Indian food cooked by a friend from India and finished it before she suddenly told me she was so sorry but she forgot to Americanize it for me. It tasted perfect to me. Until I bit into one whole piece of a very hot spice. I spent a long time holding my open mouth under the faucet that time, much to everyone’s amusement.

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            1. Some of the Indian dishes are very hot and I avoid anything labeled vindaloo… But that kind of surprise can happen in most any cuisine – Sparky bit into a red pepper in a Chinese restaurant, I had an unfortunate experience in a Malaysian eatery, and we both had a surprise in a Mexican establishment (it wasn’t salsa afterall)!! Glad that didn’t put you off Indian food!

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  2. Oh, wow! I am impressed, Val. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ
    Spinach should always be drained otherwise it will remain watery. Add a tomato while you are boiling spinach. You will love the taste.

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    1. Thanks for the tip Punam. I think that using less water (I used the 1 1/2 cups) will do the trick… I’ve had spinach with some crushed tomatoes but this recipe didn’t call for tomatoes. Maybe next time I’ll add a little!

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          1. for limitations of kitchen, I am trying it a different way; have copied all the spices for my food order in time for when I get home – all ground (I have not tried onion, but expect it will be on the market; thaw and drain spinach in the microwave, cook potatoes diced in veggie broth (from pack) with spices; when they are almost done, add drained spinach to heat. Yum. I think I pass on the rice with this one. Yum, looking forward to this. πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

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    1. I worked with a Veterinarian how made a Greek spinach and feta pie that was delicious! Now that you mention it I’m tempted to add that to my list of recipes to try (I’ll probably wait until spinach is in the garden). We haven’t had any problems with the spinach but the rabbits love the peas…

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  3. If my local eatery, Naan Cafe didn’t make such affordable, delicious saag paneer, I would consider making it from scratch too. But, as long as I can get a two item combo, vegetable korma and saag paneer, with fresh garlic naan and a mango lassi for about $10, I’m thinking it’s too much work.

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    1. Those are two of my favorite items!! India Gardens here would have a 2 item combo and I’d always get the saag paneer and the vegetable korma. But COVID caused them to close the restaurant at the mall and now all they have is the sit-down for dinner restaurant. It gets really expensive at dinner time! Which is why I wanted to see if I could duplicate this dish…

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        1. I like Chicken Tikka Masala. I haven’t met a type of naan that hasn’t been good. I like the vegetable pakora and the potato samosa. I love almost anything made with dal but especially dal makhni. And there is a vegetarian dish – malai kofta that I like (but Sparky isn’t so fond of)…and a biryani of any variety is outstanding. We are lucky to have several good Indian restaurants in the area that have survived the pandemic!

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    1. Thanks! I am going to make it again for Lent since we will be meatless on Fridays. I’ve looked at the Indian Market but they were out. The price tag made me gasp – I suppose with the supply chain issues they felt that someone would pay that much!!

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  4. Being a lifelong lover (even in childhood) of spinach, as well as of cheese and potatoes, I would probably throw all three into a paneer-then again, I also stop short of making my own cheese.

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