Monday, January 17, 2011

Last Night's Dinner: Saag Paneer

Cooper and I have a couple of delivery places in heavy rotation - just a couple. So you can imagine our dismay when we discovered, a year or so ago, that one of our favorites, an Indian place named Yeti, had closed. We don't have another Indian place in delivery range, so we resigned ourselves to a world woefully lacking in that creamy, spinachy sauce known as saag.

Fast forward to last weekend, when the weekly food52 newsletter arrived in my inbox. I usually skim and delete, but for some reason, this one was jam-packed with stuff I'd actually make (especially unusual, considering that it was a meat-free edition). Most notably, a fairly simple recipe for saag paneer.

I was especially excited to note the recipe's one tough point, the thing that in the past, would've kept me from making it: you have to make your own Indian spice blend, out of a combination of a handful of whole spices. Not so long ago, this would've kept me from even reading the recipe to the end, but since Cooper gave me a coffee/spice grinder for Christmas, not only could I grind the spices, I wanted to.

So this was step on:

About 10 seconds later, all of those spices (including those incredibly expensive cardamom pods), looked just like this:

Smooth and fabulous, no? And so satisfying.

A bit of frying and sauteeing later, and I had a perfectly serviceable, very delicious spinachy, cheesy dish on my hands:

Cooper agreed that it was successful all the way around and that it would be a good addition to my usual weeknight repertoire.

Speaking of new additions to the repertoire, as well as that food52 newsletter, last week I also made this easy recipe for fried eggs with spaghetti. I multiplied the recipe (which is ostensibly for one) by three, which made way more than Cooper and Dixon and I could all eat together. I forgot to take a picture, but believe me when I say it was a) really good and b) really easy.

I did a little doctoring, adding a squeeze of anchovy paste and if I had it to do over again, I'd add even more capers than recommended (but we like capers) and a lot of the suggested pasta water. It was great, though, even without those tweaks - perfect cold winter night comfort food.


Laura said...

Ah sounds delicious! Great work on making the Indian spice blend at home too! Did you have a lot of trouble finding paneer in stores? I love the taste of the stuff but haven't been sure where is a trusty place to purchase it.

Kit Pollard said...

Actually, and I can't believe I forgot to mention this, I didn't even use paneer. I used frying cheese from Trader Joe's - because it's what I could find. It worked perfectly well!

Joyce said...

Thanks for post! I've been in Indian mode too for some reason and insearch of spice blends, thanks for reminding me I could make them!

theminx said...

Yeti may be gone, but B'More is pretty decent. Haven't tried the saag paneer, but we've enjoyed some of the Indo-Chinese food.

Kit Pollard said...

Good to know, Kathy - thanks. I was sort of put off by the name, just because it's kind of lame, but we'll give it a try. We could really use some new carry-out variety...


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