Mustard Green Saag Paneer

Mustard Green Saag Paneer, is the last in a series of six recipes inspired by Vegetables From Down The Road.

Mustard Green Saag Paneer

Saag Paneer is one of my favorite dishes.  The word Saag means any leafy green vegetable.  Paneer is an Indian farmer’s cheese, which many Indians make at home.  Click on Paneer (Indian Cheese)  to check out my recipe.

If you don’t want to make it, you can buy Paneer in an Indian market.  I have even seen it at my local super market, but the quality is not as good as when you buy it at the Indian market.  If Paneer is not available, feel free to substitute, scallops, shrimp or baby red potatoes.

When Saag Paneer is made with spinach, it is called Palak Paneer.  Palak means spinach.  In Punjab, where I am from, the classic Saag is made with Sarson, which is an Indian mustard green.  This recipe is the classic Punjabi dish, inspired by the American mustard greens that were available in my beautiful vegetable basket.

INGREDIENTS:

Saag Paneer Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of mustard greens
  • 1 cup of frozen finely chopped spinach
  • 1 cup of paneer pieces (the one’s you see in the photo are home made.  They have been coated with my Indian Spice Mix and pan fried in grape seed oil.  This step adds extra flavor but you can skip it and use the paneer plain.)
  • 1/2 cup of plain yogurt.  You can buy it at the store, or if you want to make your own click on My Mom’s Yogurt.
  • 2 Tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 inches of ginger root
  • 1 inch of turmeric root (if you cannot find fresh turmeric, use 1/2 tsp of powder.)
  • 3 chili peppers (used whatever variety you have on hand – here I used a fiery hot scotch bonnet and 2 mild orange baby bells.) Mixing up the peppers lets you control the heat level and results in a more complex flavor.
  • 1 Tbsp of dried pomegranate seeds ground in a spice grinder
  • 1 tsp of black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp of red chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp of garam masala
  • 2 Tbsp of ghee (use grape seed oil if you don’t have ghee.)
  • salt and pepper to taste

PREP:

Saag Paneer Prep

  • Wash the mustard greens to get rid of any gritty dirt.  Then tear the leave off the stems.
  • Dice the onion
  • Mince the ginger root, garlic and chili peppers

PREPPING THE SAAG MIXTURE:

  • Put the mustard leaves in a food processor and give them a whiz.  You may have to add a little water to help turn them into a paste.
  • Add the frozen spinach and whiz it again to incorporate.

COOK:

  • Coat a large stainless steel pot with ghee.  Place the pot on medium-low heat to let the ghee melt.
  • Add the onion, ginger, garlic, chili peppers, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chili flakes and garam masala.
  • Grate in the fresh turmeric root, using a mini grater or a micro-plane.  If you are using powdered turmeric add it when the tomato paste is added so that it does not burn.
  • Saute until the onions get translucent.  About 5 minutes.
  • Make a hot spot in the center of the pan by pushing the veggies aside and add tomato paste.
  • Let the tomato paste cook for a minute and then stir it into the veggies.
  • Add the saag mixture
  • Sprinkle in the cinnamon and ground up pomegranate seeds
  • Cook on low heat until the mixture turns dark green.  Stir occasionally while cooking.  This should take 10 to 15 minutes.

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  • Add the yogurt and stir it in
  • Continue to cook on low, stirring occasionally until the saag starts bubbling

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  • Add the paneer pieces
  • Gently toss to incorporate them into the saag without breaking them
  • Cover with the lid and turn the heat off.  Let sit until ready to serve.

The residual heat will bring the paneer up to the correct temperature without overcooking it.  Overcooked paneer becomes rubbery, so it is best to bring it up to temperature gently.  The residual heat will also allow all the flavors to marry.  This technique of marrying the flavors together is called “DHUM” in Hindi.  DURING THE “DHUM” PERIOD DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO REMOVE THE LID TO TAKE A PEEK.  Removing the lid will let the heat escape and ruin the process of marrying the flavors together.  As a child, I always wanted to lift the lid.  My mom or my grandma would stop me.  Now since they are only with me in spirit, I have to stop myself. 💕  I got a little sentimental writing this.

Saag is traditionally served with Makki Di Roti, a flat unleavened Punjabi bread made from corn meal.  I usually visit my family in India during the winter months when it is Sarson Saag season.  I eat it almost every day, but I skip the Makki Di Roti, because I lead a Ketogenic Lifestyle which does not allow corn.  Occasionally, I cheat and take just a small bite. 😊 Here is a photo of my favorite Punjabi meal from my favorite Punjabi Dhaba (roadside restaurant.)

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To make a complete Ketogenic meal, I serve it with Amritsari Masala Fish for me, since I am a pescatarian.  For my husband, who has to have meat in his diet, I serve it with Amritsari Masala Lamb Chops.  Lamb and Saag is a classic combination.

Amritsari Masala Lamb Chops served with Mustard Green Saag Paneer

The spice mixture for the lamb chops is a little bit different than the one for the fish.  I will be posting the lamb recipe on Saturday, August 1st, 2020.  Be on the lookout for it.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed my story and recipe.  Please give me your feedback in the comment section.  I always love hearing from you.

Bye for now 🖐  Have a great day !!!

Grilled Rabbit “Stew”

This Grilled Rabbit “Stew” is my husband’s creation.  I am a pescatarian, but my husband is an omnivore.  We both eat a lot of vegetables and now follow a Ketogenic Lifestyle.  My mom was a vegetarian and raised me that way.  However, my dad does eat meat and I learned how to cook meat for him.  I myself was a vegetarian until about 20 years ago when I started eating fish.  Most of my recipes tend to be vegan, vegetarian or seafood.  These days my husband cooks meat for himself and I cook the other dishes.  If grilling is involved, I may do the marinade, but the grill is my husband’s territory.  He made this dish and I have decided to let him write up his recipe.

INGREDIENTS:Grilled Rabbit Stew Ingredients

  • 1 red onion halved and sliced
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes cut into 8ths
  • 2 medium sized green peppers cut into 6ths
  • 1 jalapeno sliced including seeds, leave the seeds out if you don’t want it spicy
  • 1 zucchini cut lengthwise and sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 Shiner beer, I used a mango kolsch, I drank the rest.
  • 1 rabbit cleaned and cut into 8 pieces

Someone gave me the rabbit, if you don’t have rabbit you can use chicken, skinned.

PREP:Grilled Rabbit Stew Prep

  • place a sheet of tin foil in an aluminum roasting pan
  • drizzle olive oil on the sheet of tin foil
  • lay the veggies on the sheet
  • drizzle more oil and add salt and pepper
  • add the rabbit and add more oil and salt and pepper
  • put your grill on medium heat and start the cooking with grill lid open
  • when it starts sizzling add the beer
  • close the grill lid and cook for about 40 minutes
  • turn up the heat to high to finish the dish and add color to the rabbit. Cook on high for about 10 minutes.

When the rabbit is browned and cooked through it is ready to eat.

Grilled Rabbit Stew Cook

You will find a delicious golden gravy under the veggies to pour over the dish when it is served.

 

Curried Baby Turnips (tops & all)

Curried Baby Turnips, is the first in a series of six recipes inspired by Vegetables From Down The RoadCurried Baby Turnips (tops & all)The baby turnips from our neighboring farm were so fresh that I decided to use them tops and all.  This is a classic Indian dish which is usually made with cilantro.  Here I substituted the tender, fresh turnip tops for the cilantro.

INGREDIENTS:

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  • 2 bunches of baby turnips (each bunch had 5 turnips)
  • 3 peppers (use whatever variety you have on hand–here I used a Fresno, a sweet orange pepper and a fiery hot green scotch bonnet pepper.)  Mixing up the type of peppers results in a more complex flavor.
  • 2 inches of ginger root
  • 2 inches of turmeric root (if you cannot find fresh turmeric, use 1/2 tsp. of powder instead)
  • 8 ounces of frozen peas
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp. chili flakes (optional if you want to make the dish more spicy)
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. garam masala (I make my own, but you can purchase it at an Indian grocery store or a spice market)
  • 2 Tbsp. grape seed oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

PREP:

Curried Baby Turnips Prep

  • Trim off the turnip bottoms and tops.  Leave the skins on.  Cut the turnips in half and then slice them into thin moon shapes.
  • Roughly chop the turnip tops.
  • Finely dice the chilies and ginger.

COOK:

  • Coat a large stainless steel skillet with grape seed oil and place on medium heat.
  • Add the turnips, chilies and ginger.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Sprinkle on the cumin, black mustard and nigella seeds.  Add the optional chili flakes.
  • Using a micro plane or mini grater, grate the fresh turmeric at this point.  If you are using powdered turmeric, it will be added later in the recipe.  If you add it now, it will burn.
  • Saute the turnips until they are translucent and the added seeds begin to pop.  You will be able to hear them popping.
  • Turn the heat to medium-low.
  • Add the tomato paste and smoked paprika.  If you are using powdered turmeric, add it at this point.  Continue to saute for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the chopped turnip tops and saute until they wilt.  This should take 2 or 3 minutes.
  • Add the peas and sprinkle on the garam masala.
  • Add additional salt and pepper as needed.
  • Toss everything together.
  • Turn off the heat and cover with the lid.

Leave the turnips on the stove without removing the lid for about 10-20 minutes or until you are ready to serve.  This process is called “DUM” in Hindi.  It allows all the flavors to marry and become one harmonious flavor. This is a very important step in traditional Indian cooking.

As a side note.  At the end of February 2019, I found out that I have high blood sugar.  For the past 4 months, I have been following a ketogenic lifestyle along with intermittent fasting.  I have been successful in controlling my blood sugar and I also lost 30 pounds.  I will write more about this in a separate post.  This recipe just happens to fit a keto lifestyle.  Turnips are a great substitute for potatoes on a keto program.  Try this recipe because it is delicious.  Let me know how it turns out in the comment section.

Kale Feta Egg Breakfast

My neighbor brought me some fresh kale and white onions from his garden.  His beautiful produce inspired me to make a breakfast skillet.

Ingredients:

KFE Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of well-washed kale.  Pull the leaves off the stems.  Tear them into bite-sized pieces.  Don’t throw the stems away.  Finely chop them and use them like you would use chopped celery.
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 eggs.  These lovelies came from my chickens.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes.  Use more if you want to spice it up.
  • 1 fresh green chili, minced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano.  Crush the oregano leaves with your hands just before using.  Crushing them allows the oils to be released.
  • 4 ounces of feta cheese.  Use the feta you like best.  I used French feta which is very creamy and made of sheep’s milk.
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook:

Coat a large heavy duty stainless steel skillet with the olive oil.  Add the diced onion, diced kale stems, minced garlic, chili and oregano.

KFE Cook 1

Sauté over medium-low heat until light brown.  Add the tomato paste, blend it in with a wooden spoon and continue to sauté for another minute.

KFE Cook 2KFE Cook 3

Add the kale leaves.  Do not stir.  Cover with a lid and let steam for 5 minutes.  Remove the lid.  The kale leaves will have turned bright green.

KFE Cook 4KFE Cook 5

Stir the steamed kale leaves into the onion mixture that is sitting below.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Using your wooden spoon, make 6 spaces, 1 for each egg.  Break your 6 eggs open and place one in each space.  Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on each egg.  Cover with a lid and cook until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.

KFE Cook 6KFE Cook 7

Crumble the feta cheese on top.  Cover with a lid and let the cheese get soft for 1 minute.

KFE Cook 8

This makes a great anytime meal.  My husband and I enjoyed it for our Sunday brunch.  Not only is this dish delicious, it is also gluten free and figure friendly.

My friend Sachi recreated this recipe with her own modifications.  Here are the photos she sent me.

Please feel free to modify my recipes based upon your own preferences, and what you happen to have on hand.