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FareShare Gazette Recipes -- April 2007 - I's


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Indian Cheese and Red Peppers in Fragrant Spinach Sauce (Saag Paneer)

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Indian Cheese and Red Peppers in Fragrant Spinach Sauce (Saag Paneer)

Recipe By :
Serving Size :   Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Volume 10-04 Apr 2007

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
[Indian cheese made with 8 cups milk]
2 quarts milk -- (2 L)
1/2 cup plain yogurt -- (125 ml)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice -- (30 ml)

2 cups cooked spinach
1 sweet green pepper -- cored and seeded
8 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour -- for dusting
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
4 hot green chilies -- minced
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon coarse salt -- to taste
2 medium sweet red peppers -- cored, seeded
and cut into 1-inch wide strips
2 teaspoons garam masala

Lay the paneer in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels
and let dry for 10 minutes to enable them to hold their shape better during

Puree the spinach and green pepper together in a food processor. The puree
should be as fine and velvety as possible.

Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy, nonstick pan over medium
heat. Dust the paneer pieces lightly with flour and add them to the pan.
Fry in batches, turning and tossing them until they turn light golden brown
about 2 or 3 minutes per batch). Watch carefully to ensure that they do not
burn. Take them out and put on a dish and set aside.

Add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the same pan, along with the onion. Fry
the onion, stirring constantly, until brown, about 20 minutes). Add the
ginger and fry for an additional 2 minutes. Add the turmeric and green
chilies, stir for a few seconds, then add the spinach puree along with 1/2
cup water, salt and sweet red pepper. Mix well and bring to a boil. Lower
heat and cook, cover, for 2 minutes. Add the fried paneer pieces, mix again
thoroughly, and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Stir in the garam

When ready to serve, heat thoroughly and, if desired, fold in the remaining
2 tablespoons of oil to glaze and mellow the sauce.

Cuisine : "Indian Food"

NOTES : Indian Cheese (paneer) is a delicacy all Indians - particularly
vegetarians - love. Popular all through the north from Bengal in the east
to Gujarat and Punjab in the west, paneer is cooked in an onion and cumin
laced spinach sauce. Adding sweet red peppers, the brilliant red and ivory
white cheese look stunning against the glazed moss green sauce.

Pannir (sometimes spelled "paneer") is the ubiquitous fresh cheese that is
found on nearly every Indian table. It can be bought in any Indian
specialty shop but it is so easy to make that I have included the
instructions here.

For the pannir:
2 quarts (2 L) milk
1/2 cup (125 ml) plain yogurt
2 Tbs (30 ml) fresh lemon juice

To make the pannir, bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan over moderate
heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt and lemon juice - the
curds should form almost immediately. Pour the contents of the pot into a
sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth (muslin) set over a large
bowl. Let drain until cool enough to handle, then wrap the cheesecloth
around the curds and wring to extract as much whey as possible. Place the
cheese, still wrapped in the cheesecloth, on a baking sheet and place a
heavy skillet and several heavy cans or heavy pots on top (total weight
should be about 15 pounds, 6 Kg); let rest at room temperature for 6 to
8 hours, until the cheese is firm. Remove the cheesecloth and cut the
cheese into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes.

NOTE : I find that if I sprinkle the cheese cubes with flour, they are
easier to handle and fry up into a beautiful golden color.

Contributed to the FareShare Gazette by Jennie in response to a request;
19 April 2007.

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