Circa 2003. Those were early days of blogging and Route 79 was one of those early blogs that I use to read regularly. Written by a second generation Indian from Britain, he used to write about myriad topics including food. He chronicled a lot of authentic Punjabi recipes coming straight from his kitchen and were not as oil-masala loaded as the restaurant dishes. Given our love for spinach (spinach masiyal, the South Indian preparation of spinach is a staple in our house), it is no wonder that we love Saag and I never quite mastered the art of making it, till I found the fool-proof way in Route 79’s kitchen. I have made this recipe several times and it has turned out well every single time without any mishaps. This is my entry for Your Recipe Rocks event started by Madhu for this month.
1 bunch of spinach leaves
1-2 green chillies (depending on the heat), chopped
1 medium sized onion, chopped
Paneer, about 10-12 small cubes
1″ piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1.5 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp jeera
1 tsp turmeric powder
1-2 tsp of salt (based on taste)
1 tsp of oil
Clean, roughly chop and cook the spinach leaves and green chillies with water for about 30-40 mins. You can do a combination of greens too, if you like, instead of just spinach. I have tried spinach and chard / kale, and it turns out just the same. Using immersion blender (if you have one, else regular blender will work just fine), blend the mixture well.
Mix cornmeal with water and add this to the blended spinach and cook it for another 20-30 minutes.
In the meantime, saute onion, garlic and ginger in oil with turmeric over medium heat. Pound the coriander seeds and jeera in a mortar and pestle, to make a coarse powder of the same. Add this powder to the onion mixture, as well as paneer and let them shallow-fry for about 10 mins over low heat.
Add the sauteed mixture to the simmering spinach, let it cook together for about 5 minutes.
For a slightly richer taste, add 1 tbsp (or more) butter to the simmering spinach.