Friday, October 5, 2012

Sag Paneer is no longer my Kryptonite

It's one of those occasions, like so many before it, that is just so ridiculous that you can't even explain yourself in hindsight. I loved Sag Paneer. Paneer tastes like tofu. I can make Sag Paneer vegan.
My god. It's full of stars.

 This recipe comes to us from the good ol' Cooking Channel, aka the only reason I have cable, aka the only reason I have -premium- cable. Bal Arneson, The Spice Goddess, did something I found amazing, she added multiple types of greens to the dish. She also omitted the cream, keeping it very simple. Look, it was 6:30, I was starving after a particularly long Friday, I stumbled blindly through the recipe on my phone, I didn't even have fresh ginger, and this was amazing. You have no excuse. 

Sag Paneer - slightly adapted from this

2 Crowns Broccoli, Chopped
2 Cups Spinach, Chopped
Oil for frying 
1 Onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
1 Tblsp fresh ginger, or 1 tsp powdered
1 Tblsp Garam Masala
1 tsp fenugreek (omitted due to hatred)
Chili Flakes to taste
Salt to taste (Obvs)
1 Brick of Tofu, pressed and cubed

The main flavor component here is Garam Masala, do yourself a favor and go to Penzey's, or your local spice market, and pick some up. It will change your life. As for the fenugreek? I'm sure it adds to the backbone of the flavor. I'm sure something about that sourish, bitterish taste, and cloying sticky smell is great, but no thank you. I'm good.

You're going to want to press your tofu. I have a lengthy explanation of how to Here

In the meantime, steam your broccoli crowns and spinach. Don't overdo it! You don't want mush. Well, you will want mush later, but on your own terms. Make sure things stay vibrantly green. If you're super lazy in a devil-may-care sort of way, steam your spinach in the bag it came in. It gave me the willies to microwave in plastic, but it got me to where I needed to be. Cut an 'X' into any stalks that are too thick to steam quickly, or are looking at you funny.

Set the greens aside to cool a bit. In a saucepan, add the chopped onions, garlic, salt, spices, and saute until the onions are translucent and the spices are nice and toasty.  
Take your greens for a whirl in the food processor or blender. If they are still steaming, take the little cap off the top of your device so it can vent, or you will be very sad, and possibly scalded.
I was aiming for a rough chop, but wound up with a pretty fine puree. Do what makes you happy. You could even mash the greens by hand, if you felt the need to vent some aggression in productive manner. Put the resulting mixture in the pan with the garlic, onion, spice mixture, and let it simmer for 5 minutes. 

In a skillet, put enough oil of your choice to coat the bottom, and toss in your tofu cubes. You can brown them, or you could stare at them resentfully for taking so long, and take them out once they're only warmed-through. I won't judge.
Plop these into your sag mixture, be careful not to break up the pieces, I guess. Whatever, I'm going to eat it either way.

Ahem. Serve over rice, or with some homemade Naan-whoarewekidding- rice.

By now, you must know that it's going to be hard to take a pretty picture of this. I wanted to. I tried to. At the end of the day, it's ground up spinach over tofu. It's going to look like something your body rejected after a well spent night at your favorite dive bar.  It's not pretty, but it is delicious. Here's attempt number one:

Hmmm. How about some bamboo? Does that help?

No, no, that might actually make it worse. Well, this one might not make it up on tastespotting, but that's their loss, not yours.


Anonymous said...

You're right, no excuse now. I've has Sag on my hit list for months now.

Mandee said...

Haha, I know what you mean about trying to photograph something that is just not pretty, but it really does not look bad at all, I think brown goop looks worse than green!

Kristy said...

Whew! Finally! Sag Paneer was always my favorite must-have Indian dish- I can't wait to try this more compassionate version. Thank you!

Also, I think the bamboo adds a nice bit of ambiance.:-)

Anonymous said...

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