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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Saag Paneer

Last night Bridgit was reminiscing about how good her Indian birthday dinner was. Naturally I've been thinking about Indian food ever since! In the pre-vegan Good 'Ole Days, I often enjoyed a delicious dairy-laden Saag Paneer and a big pile of Basmati rice. What's not to love about cubes of cheese cooked in creamy spinach?

Last year I made homemade paneer (that's the cheese) and it was surprisingly easy... scald some milk, curdle it with lemon juice, separate the curds and whey, call Little Miss Muffet, let the curds set in the fridge - and you've got paneer! Post-Vegan Enlightenment, I substituted tofu for the paneer and used coconut milk, but this would be equally delicious vegan or non-vegan. It's healthy, cheap, and was a hit!

1 large yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
Whole mess of spices (see below)
16 oz. frozen spinach
15 oz. crushed tomatoes
7 oz. (half a can) light coconut milk
Juice of 1 lemon

Spice Blend

1/4 teaspoon of:
Coriander seeds (or ground coriander)

1/2 teaspoon of:
Red pepper flakes
Garam Masala

1 teaspoon of:
Madras curry powder

Chop the onion and saute it with the garlic until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add all the spices and saute for a minute or two to let the spices toast.
Add the tomato and coconut milk, scraping up the spices from the pan.
Toss in the (thawed) spinach and stir to combine.
Simmer the saag on medium for about 20 minutes, or until the saag is thick and has turned a deep green color.
Gently stir in the tofu (or paneer) and heat it through on low.
Squeeze in the juice (and zest) of one lemon and add more salt if needed.

I made brown Basmati rice to go with this but go where the spirit moves you!

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