Recipe: "Spinach and Mustard Greens with Cheese (Saag Paneer)" from "The Gateway to Indian Cooking: 660 Curries" by Raghavan Iyer
Rating: Great! This recipe gave me nearly perfect results (I also made it a year ago).
Status: Made twice.
Additional Notes: This recipe suggested using spinach and mustard greens, however I used 16 oz of spinach (2 bunches) instead since spinach is easier for me to find (though I assumed this; I forgot to check to see whether my produce market had mustard greens). This recipe works really well, and as I mentioned in my post from a year ago, I like it doesn't require the spinach leaves to be blanched. It does use a blender though, but I like how he suggested whizzing some water into the blender to clean, it and then adding that water to the cooking pot, so that you can capture all of the flavor. One tiny change I made is that I added 1/2 cup of water to the blender, and washed it out the first time with 1/4 cup and washed it out a second time with 1/4 cup of water, instead of only adding 1/4 cup and washing with 3/4 cup, since 1/4 cup water wasn't enough liquid for my blender to pulverize the onion and ginger, and I like the wash out the blender in two steps in order to get the most flavor.
Instead of the garam masala recommended in the recipe, I used Julie Sahni's Punjabi Garam Masala, because I still have some around that needs to be used up. William doesn't like extremely spicy food; the spice level of this dish was perfect for him. I did everything else nearly exactly as the recipe suggested (I used the suggested amount of garam masala this time), except that I also added an extra 1/2 tsp of salt.
Served with basmati rice. I like to wash and then soak my basmati rice for 30 minutes in cold water before cooking because the soaking helps the basmati rice become longer, and I find that sometimes unsoaked basmati is too dry so soaking helps the grains to become plumper. I cooked it using my rice cooker's "Normal" setting.
This dish reheats well, so I made the full quantities suggested in the recipe, and it fed us for 2 days.
Recipe: "Whole-Milk Cheese (Doodh Paneer)" from "The Gateway to Indian Cooking: 660 Curries" by Raghavan Iyer
Status: Made once.
I have made paneer before using the recipe from "Classic Indian Cooking" by Julie Sahni. This time I decided to try out a new recipe, to see if I could learn anything new. Making paneer cheese is easier than going to an Indian grocery store just to buy paneer (I already had all of the rest of the ingredients for saag paneer); however packaged paneer keeps for months, so if you do visit an Indian store it is fine to buy some just to have around.
I made this from 1 gallon of whole milk, and used 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar as my separating agent. I pressed the cheese using a heavy pot (the blue pot you see in the pictures above) with its lid and filled with water. The texture was great; it made a very firm cheese, which held together well in the saag paneer.
I deep-fried the cheese, instead of pan-frying, since I thought deep-frying would be faster. The cheese does make the oil splatter, so you have to be very careful, and it makes a mess because it splatters oil all over.
I made the cheese 2 days ahead of time, and deep fried it just before I cooked the saag paneer.