Dhaba Style Saag Paneer with Punjabi Tadka
- 3/4 bunch Mustard greens (substitute with Broccoli rabe if Mustard leaves not available. You won't feel any difference in taste)
- 1 bunch Spinach
- 1/4 bunch Fenugreek leaves
- 1 qty Onion medium sized
- 1/2 inch Ginger
- 3-4 cloves Garlic
- 1 qty Green chili
- 1/2 teaspoon Garam masala
- 1.2 teaspoon Turmeric
- to taste Salt
- 1-2 tablespoons Lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Oil (can use any oil. I used partly mustard oil, partly avocado oil)
- a pinch Baking soda
- 2 teaspoons Cornmeal (can use corn flour instead)
- 1 qty Dried red chili
- 1/2 teaspoon Jeera
- a pinch Asafetida (hing)
- 250 grams Paneer (replace with tofu for vegan version)
Wash all the green leafy vegetables and roughly chop it.
Peel and finely chop onions, mince ginger, garlic, and green chili.
Heat water and add a pinch of baking soda. Add the green leafy vegetables and bring it to a boil. Do not cover the container. After the first boil, let it simmer for 5-7 minutes.
Remove from heat and instantly put the greens in a container filled with water and ice. After a few minutes, drain all the water out.
Add lemon juice. Grind the greens into a smooth paste.The use of baking soda, lemon juice and putting the greens in a container filled with cold water is to maintain the rich green color of the veggies.
Heat oil, add chopped garlic (leaving some aside for tempering), followed by ginger, green chillies, onions, each at an interval of about 30 seconds to a minute. Saute’ for about 5-7 minutes.Add the garam masala, salt, turmeric powder. Saute’ for another 2 minutes.
Add the cornmeal/cornflour to half a cup of cold water and make a smooth paste. Add it to the above gravy. Saute’ for another 2 minutes. Add the green vegetable paste and let it cook for 5-7 minutes. Then turn off the heat. Add the paneer cubes / American cottage cheese / tofu cubes. Add the subzi on to a serving plate.
Heat a 2 teaspoons of oil. I used 1 teaspoon of avocado oil, and one teaspoon of mustard oil. You may use any oil.
Add a pinch of asafetida to the hot oil, followed by the cumin seeds, dried whole red chili, garlic. Once these ingredients splutter, and garlic is browned pour it over the saag paneer.
Enjoy with roti, paratha, or any other kind of bread or rice dish.
- Chop the ginger and garlic very finely. Nicely minced garlic and ginger enhances the taste of this dish.
- Throughout the cooking process, do not cover the container.
- I love eating this with lots of lemon juice added on top. Try it, you may like it too.
- Tips: The, use of baking powder when boiling, ice-bath right after boiling, and lemon juice right before making the paste are the 3 tips that would keep the saag paneer lush green, not just on the day you make it, but also on the following day.
- For making the paneer soft, heat a bowl of water for 1-2 minutes in microwave. Add paneer cubes in that hot water and leave it for few minutes. Drain the water out.