Pork Piccata – gluten free

This is the Secondi we will be making and serving, for the Halloween Italian Cooking Class/Pop Up Supper Club in Support of the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry.

Secondi means second course in Italian. It is the main protein course which consists of meat, poultry or fish. I decided to create a play on the classic veal piccata, by using Berkshire Pork tenderloin supplied to me by our neighbors, Rose & James, at Peach Creek Farm. I like supporting our local producers and going straight from The Ranch to The Table. Couldn’t get any more local than the neighboring ranch! 👍😃

Berkshire pork is a gourmet product from a breed of pigs that originated in the English county of Berkshire. The meat has shorter muscle fibers than regular pork, making the meat more tender. The meat is also highly marbled with intramuscular fat, making the meat more succulent and flavorful. Rose & James treat their animals with care. The pigs are not caged and no hormones or chemicals are used in raising them.

In making classic veal piccata, the veal is pounded thin and dredged in flour. I decided to not use flour so I can make the dish gluten free and keto friendly. The flour dredging is traditionally used to protect the thin, lean veal cutlet from drying out, to create a golden brown crust and to thicken the piccata sauce. I will be using Berkshire pork medallions that are 1.25 inches thick and are higher in fat than veal, so they don’t need flour dredging to protect them from drying out. I will get additional flavor and a golden brown crust by coating the pork medallions with my Italian Spice Mix. I will be able to thicken the piccata sauce by adding and whisking in butter at the end. This is a French sauce making technique called Beurre Monte. Which means to mount with butter.

In the test recipe I used bone less pork chops. They turned out well, but I decided to use center cut pork loin medallions for the cooking class/supper club because it is a more tender cut of meat. I will be serving two 1.25 inch center cut pork medallions per person. The pork piccata will be accompanied by roasted squash medallions and seasonal vegetables. Click on the link in the previous sentence for the roasted squash recipe. It has turned out to to be my most viewed post. The recipe was posted on November 17, 2017.

Ingredients: for 4 servings

  • 8 – 1.25 inch thick center cut pork medallions
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (1 to coat the pork, 1 to coat the pan, and 1 for the piccata sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon of my Italian Spice Mix
  • 3 pats of the best unsalted butter you can find
  • 2 tablespoons of small capers
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of wine
  • 1 lemon
  • handful of Italian flat leaf parsley
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Prep:

  • Coat the pork with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the Italian spice mix. Rub the spices into the pork. Cover with plastic and set in the frig while you do the rest of the prep. If you marinate the pork overnight it will be even better.
  • Mince the garlic and parsley leaves
  • Zest and juice the lemon

Cooking the pork:

  • Coat a large nonstick skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place on medium high heat.
  • Once the pan is hot place the pork medallions in the pan. Cook on first side for 2 minutes and then flip.
  • Cook on the second side for 1 minute. Do not over cook the pork or it will dry out.
  • Remove the pork medallions from the pan. Set aside and cover to keep warm. I used a crockpot container with its lid on to hold the pork warm.

Making the piccata sauce:

Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a pat of butter to the pan you used to cook the pork medallions. Turn the flame to medium.
Sprinkle in the chopped parsley.

Taste the sauce. Adjust for salt pepper and acid. During the cooking process, I added only 1/2 the lemon juice. If you need more acid you can add it at this time. Once you are happy with the way the sauce tastes pour it over the pork medallions.

When I am doing a cooking class or a party, I hold the pork piccata in a warm crock pot until I am ready to serve. This makes it easier for all my guests to have warm plates of food, served simultaneously, so we can all eat together.

I have been told many times that the best part of our pop up supper club event is the camaraderie generated by sharing a meal together while supporting our community. It brings me a great deal of joy to be able to hold these events. 💕

Next week I will be posting the final recipe for our up coming cooking class/pop up supper club. Be on the look out for it. Until then ciao! 🖐😃

Italian Stuffed Vegetables – gluten free

This is the Antipasto (appetizer) we will be making and serving, for the Halloween Italian Cooking Class/Pop Up Supper Club in Support of the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry.

The event will be held on October 30, 2020. I will use the freshest vegetable I can find for the class, but for this recipe I used round zucchini squash that was grown by my neighbor in his garden. My neighbor, Billy usually brings us vegetables and we provide him with fresh eggs from our chickens. I love living in the country and having access to simple fresh ingredients. So when I say “Farm-to-Table”, I really mean it. 😃

Ingredients:

  • 2 round zucchini squash
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 small tomato (in this photo I have a yellow tomato from the garden)
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 or 2 green chilies (optional – leave them out if you want to tone down the spice level)
  • 2 slices of fresh Mozzarella
  • 4 ounces of grated Parmesan
  • 3 sprigs of fresh herbs (here I have basil, oregano and thyme – I grow these in the sunroom just outside the kitchen)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil (1 for coating the squash and 2 for coating the pan used for cooking the filling)
  • 1 tablespoon of my Italian Spice Mix
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Prep:

  • Remove the stems from the squash and cut them in half going from stem to stern
  • Hollow out the squash using a grapefruit spoon. Don’t throw out the innards. Instead, dice them and set aside. We don’t waste anything. The innards will become part of the filling.
  • Dice the onion, tomato, bell pepper and Mozzarella slices
  • Mince the chilies and garlic
  • Finely chop the herbs
  • Season the hollowed out squash with salt, pepper, Italian spice mix and olive oil

Cooking the filling:

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a heavy duty stainless steel pan. Place the pan over a medium-low flame. Add the onion, bell pepper, chilies, garlic and herbs.
Sauté the vegetables until they are soft
Transfer the sautéed veggies to a bowl. Taste the filling and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Let the filling cool to room temp. before mixing in the cheeses.
Stuff each squash half with the filling. Place on an oven safe tray or baking dish.
Bake in a 350 F oven until the squash is tender and the cheese is melted and golden.

Most Italian stuffed vegetables have breadcrumbs in the mixture. But I decided to leave out the breadcrumbs so that I could make this recipe gluten free and also fit my ketogenic lifestyle. Trust me, you won’t even miss the breadcrumbs.

I have also made stuffed peppers and mushrooms using a similar recipe. I took photos of the mushroom recipe and will post it at a later date. I posted Cauliflower Stuffed Peppers on November 7, 2018. The cauliflower stuffed peppers are also gluten free. Please click on the link in the previous sentence if you want to see the stuffed peppers recipe.

I am really looking forward to making this recipe with my students on October 30, 2020. My husband will be selecting a local Italian style wine to pair with this Antipasto course. Should be yummy and fun. 😋😃

VERMILION SNAPPER – Tips on Storing Fresh Fish

Most of the fish we eat is caught by my husband. When the freezer gets low, he goes fishing with his friends and replenishes our stock. He catches, cleans and fillets the fish. My job is to store and cook it. And Of Course we both enjoy eating it. 😋

On one of his fishing trips, he went way into the Gulf of Mexico and brought home a catch of Vermilion Snapper.

I was familiar with Red Snapper, but I had never heard of Vermilion Snapper before. I love the pink color of the fish. Its meat is milder and sweeter than the Red Snapper. It is very moist and melts in your mouth.

The Vermilion Snapper is smaller, and more slender than its Red cousin. Also, it has a forked tail instead of a flat tail. Another name for these fish is Beeliners, because they live in open waters, where they use their precision and speed to make a beeline to chase small fish as their prey. Unlike the Red Snapper, they are not bottom feeders.

Usually, my husband brings home a lot of fish. I cook some right away so we can have it at its freshest, and I freeze the rest for future meals. I am going to show you how to prepare the fish for proper storage in the freezer. I am also going to show you one of my Vermilion Snapper Recipes.

STORING THE FISH

Pat dry the fish fillets with a paper towel.
Place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet covered with a silicone mat.
Place the fish fillets in the freezer for 10 minutes.
This will allow the fillets to freeze slightly, so that when you vacuum seal them in a bag, liquid will not leak out during the sealing process.
Portion out the fillets for future meals.
Write the date and name of the fish on a vacuum seal bag.
Place the fillets in the vacuum seal bag so that they lie flat.
Using a vacuum sealing machine on the gentle setting, seal the bags closed.

Sealing and storing the fish properly will keep the fillets fresh for up to a year. Since I am a pescatarian, I love having a freezer full of fresh fish on hand. I am so lucky to have a husband who lovingly catches fish for me.😊

COOKING THE FISH

Ingredients:

  • 2 Vermilion Snapper fillets
  • 1 Tbsp grape seed oil
  • 2 pats of butter
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp of red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp Kasoori Methi (dried Fenugreek leaves)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • wedge of lemon to squeeze on top

Prep:

  • Crush the dried Fenugreek leaves between the palms of your hand to release their oils and aroma. Place the resulting powder in a glass dish that is big enough to fit the fish fillets.
  • Add the rest of the spices, along with the salt and pepper to make a dry rub.
  • Place the fillets in the glass dish, and coat both sides with the dry rub.
  • Drizzle on the grape seed oil and rub it gently into the fish.

I usually cover the let the seasoned fish fillets with plastic wrap, and let them sit in the fridge for 30 minutes before pan frying them. This allows the spices to infuse into the fish.

Pan Frying:

  • Place a non-stick pan on medium heat
  • Add the butter. Let it melt and turn slightly brown. Browning the butter brings out a nutty flavor.
  • Add the fish fillets pretty, presentation side down.
  • Pan fry until a crust forms. About 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Flip the fillets. Let cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the heat and squeeze lemon on top.

Cover with a lid and let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes. While the fish is resting plate your side dish. I decided to serve the pan fried Vermilion Snapper with Curried Cabbage-Punjabi Style. I plated the cabbage on the bottom and placed the fish on top.

I haven’t added any starch so that I can stick with my Ketogenic life style. You can serve it with whatever side dishes you like best.

I wrote this post to showcase the fresh fish my husband lovingly catches for me. Fresh caught fish is absolutely the best.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. You can use it with any white fish. If you make it, please let me know how it turns out. I always love hearing from you!!!

Bye for now 🖐💕

Beer Can Chicken

Summer is almost over !!! I can’t believe that Labor Day weekend is already here. In our home, I am the pescatarian while my husband eats everything. Most days I cook the non-meat dishes in the kitchen while my husband cooks his meat on the grill outside. In honor of Labor Day celebrations and cookouts, I have decided to post my husband’s Beer Can Chicken.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 can of your favorite beer
  • enough olive oil to coat the chicken
  • enough sea salt and freshly ground pepper to coat the chicken

PREPPING THE CHICKEN:

Liberally coat the chicken with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper

COOKING THE CHICKEN:

While the internal temperature reaches 175 F, the skin gets golden brown and crispy as the meat cooks through. Take the chicken off the grill and let it rest for 10 minutes. During the resting period, the internal temperature will come up to 180 F and the juices will get reabsorbed into the meat. This will result in a moist and flavorful chicken.

This is a simple recipe for a backyard cookout. It can be served with a variety of side dishes and salads. I know potato salad is a summer favorite, but if you want to keep a Ketogenic Lifestyle try my Avocado Mediterranean Salad.

Next week I will post another one of my husband’s grilled recipes.

ENJOY ❤

Amritsari Masala Pork Chops

Here is the pork version, of the Amritsari Masala Lamb Chops that I posted last Saturday.

Pork Loin Rib Chops served with Curried Baby Turnips Feature

The pork chops are also made with my Indian Spice Mix, but I tweaked the flavor with additional warm spices which have a well-rounded, sweet profile to match the flavor of the pork.  I know that sweet things go with pork because Pork Chops & Apples is a classic American combination.

INGREDIENTS:

 

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  • 2 thick cut, bone in pork loin rib chops.  These very special Berkshire pork chops were provided by my neighbors, Rose and James, at Peach Creek Farm.
  • Enough Indian Spice Mix to coat the pork chops.  If you prepare 1/2 a cup of spice mix you should have plenty.
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 piece of mace
  • 1 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1 Tbsp of grape seed oil to coat the pork chops, and 1 Tbsp to coat the non-stick skillet.
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

A FEW NOTES ON THE INGREDIENTS:

Berkshire pork is a gourmet product from a breed of pigs that originated in the English county of Berkshire.  The meat has shorter muscle fibers than regular pork, making the meat more tender.  The meat is also highly marbled with intramuscular fat, making the meat more succulent and flavorful.  Rose and James treat their animals with care, they are not caged, and no hormones or chemicals are used in raising them.  For more information, you can go to their website at Peach Creek Farm.

Mace (on the left) is the outer covering of the nutmeg seed.  It gives a milder, more balanced flavor than nutmeg. It rounds out the flavor profile of the spice rub.

Mace & Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds (on the right) have a sweet slightly, licorice-like flavor.  They are often used in sausage making.  My husband likes it in the rubs I use for pork, because it makes him feel like he is eating sausage.

PREPPING THE PORK CHOPS:

 

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  • Remove the pork chops from their package and pat them dry
  • Place the mace and fennel seeds in a spice grinder.  Pulverize into a powder.
  • Add this powder along with the cinnamon to the Indian Spice Mix
  • Mix the spices to form a spice rub
  • Sprinkle the spice rub, salt and pepper over the pork chops
  • Drizzle with grape seed oil
  • Rub the spices and oil into the pork chops
  • Flip the pork chops, and season the second side with the spice rub and oil
  • Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour

The seasoned pork chops can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.  The spices prevent the meat from going bad.  This is a good way to prep protein ahead of meal time.

COOKING THE PORK CHOPS:

  • Coat a large non-stick skillet with a Tbsp of grape seed oil
  • Turn the flame to medium-high and let the oil get hot.  When the oil is ready it will shimmer.
  • Place the spiced pork chops into the pan without over crowding the pan.  You should hear a sizzle.
  • Leave the pork alone to let a spicy crust form.  This should take 3 to 5 minutes.  When the crust is ready the pork will release itself, making it easy to flip without sticking.
  • Cook on the second side to get the meat to your desired temperature.
  • Transfer the cooked pork chops to a platter.  Loosely cover with foil.  Let them rest for 10 minutes before serving.  The resting period allows the juices to stay in the meat when you cut into it, thus keeping it moist.

Since pork chops go with something with a sweet profile, I have served them with Curried Baby Turnips (tops & all).

Pork Loin Rib Chops served with Curried Baby Turnips Feature

Turnips are a good low carb alternative to potatoes.  They are perfect for a Ketogenic Lifestyle!  1 medium turnip has 8 grams of carbs and 2.2 grams of fiber, making one whole turnip just 5.8 net carbs as compared to 33 net carbs in one medium russet potato.  They are also a good source of Vitamin C.

My husband likes turnips with pork because their sweet profile goes very well togehter.  Try them with your favorite vegetable.

I hope you enjoy this post.  Please leave me your feedback in the comments section.

I love to hear from you. 😃

 

Amritsari Masala Lamb Chops

Here is the recipe for Amritisari Masala Lamb Chops that I promised you.

Amritsari Masala Lamb Chops served with Mustard Green Saag Paneer

My home town is Amritsar in the Northern region of Punjab, India.  The spice rub I use on the lamb chops is from Amritsar.  It is the same spice rub that I used for the Amritsari Masala Fish with the addition of cinnamon and dried mint.  Cinnamon brings warmth and extra depth of flavor to the meat, and mint is a classic match to lamb.  We don’t use cinnamon for  the fish because it will overpower the delicate fish.

I don’t eat meat because I was raised a vegetarian and am not used to eating it.  Most Indian people are vegetarians.  I personally don’t like the taste of meat.  If I accidentally eat something made with a poultry or meat broth, I get a very upset GI tract.

My mom was a vegetarian, but my dad eats meat.  I learned how to make meat dishes for my dad.  My husband needs meat in his diet or he doesn’t do well physically, so I also make meat dishes for him and my meat eating Texas friends.  I never taste the meat dishes, but somehow I am able to make them.  My guests always compliment me on them.  I feel like the rat in the movie, “Ratatouille”, I can imagine the flavors in my head.

We live in a ranch community in Texas, so we are lucky enough to have access to the best quality meat that is organic, hormone free and grass fed.  We have neighboring ranchers who supply beef and pork.  My husband raises his own chickens, ducks, their eggs and he goes on fishing expeditions to catch fish for me.  We try to stay as close to Mother Nature as possible.

For this recipe my husband brought home Natural Lamb from our local HEB market.

INGREDIENTS:

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  • 1 pound of lamb chops
  • Enough Indian Spice Mix to coat the lamb chops.  If you prepare 1/2 a cup of spice mix you should have plenty.
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp of dried mint leaves
  • 1 Tbsp of grape seed oil to coat the lamb chops and 1 Tbsp to coat the non-stick skillet.
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

PREPPING THE LAMB CHOPS:

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  • Remove the lamb chops from their package and pat them dry
  • Crush the dried mint leaves between the palms of your hands, and add them to the Indian Spice Mix along with the cinnamon.
  • Mix the spices to form the spice rub
  • Sprinkle the spice rub, salt and pepper over the lamb chops
  • Drizzle with grape seed oil
  • Rub the spices and oil into the lamb chops
  • Flip the lamb chops, and season the second side with the spice rub and oil
  • Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour

The seasoned lamb chops can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.  The spices prevent the meat from going bad.  This is a good way to prep protein ahead of meal time.

COOKING THE LAMB CHOPS:

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  • Coat a large non stick skillet with a Tbsp of grape seed oil
  • Turn the flame to medium-high and let the oil get hot.  When the oil is ready it will shimmer.
  • Placed the spiced lamb chops in the pan.  You should hear a sizzle.
  • Leave the lamb alone to let the spicy crust form.  This should take about 3 minutes. When the crust is ready the lamb will release itself, making it easy to flip without sticking.
  • Cook on the second side to get the meat to your desired internal temperature.  Some people like it medium rare, some medium and I know most Indian people like it well done.  Choose what you prefer.
  • Transfer the cooked lamb chops to a platter.  Cover loosely with foil.  Let them rest for 10 minutes before serving.  The resting period allows the juices to stay in the meat when you cut into it, thus keeping it moist.

You can serve these lamb chops with you favorite side dish.  Here I served it with Mustard Green Saag Paneer.

Amritsari Masala Lamb Chops served with Mustard Green Saag Paneer

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  Please give me your feed back in the comments section.

Next Saturday, I will post Amritsari Masala Pork Chops, the pork version of this recipe.  It will be similar but the spices will be tweaked to match the flavor of the pork.

Stay tuned.  I really appreciate your support and interest. 😊 Bye for now. 🖐

 

 

 

Roasted Bottle Gourd Medallions

Bottle Gourd is a winter squash.  It has many different names such as, Calabash, Long Melon, and Opo Squash.  It is called Dudhi in Central India and Lauki in Northern India, which is where I am from.  It can be harvested young to be consumed as a vegetable, or harvested mature to be dried and used as a utensil.  I grew up eating Lauki.  Most of the time it was peeled and turned into a curry.  It tastes halfway between a squash and a pumpkin.  It is great for a low carb or Ketogenic diet because 100 grams of Lauki has only 2.5 grams of net carbs.

I use all parts of a vegetable because I don’t like waste.  The skin has so much fiber and nutrients, so I decided to come up with a dish that uses the skin.  This recipe is an Indian twist on my Italian Roasted Tromboncino Squash Medallions.

Roasted Bottle Gourd Medallions Feature

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 small bottle gourds
  • 2 Tbsp of my Indian Spice Mix
  • Grape seed oil, enough to coat the medallions
  • Salt and pepper to taste

PREP:

Bottle Gourds Prep

  • Cut the bottle gourd into 1/4 inch medallions
  • Place the medallions on a lined baking sheet for easy clean up
  • Sprinkle the first side of the medallions with salt, pepper and my Indian Spice Mix
  • Drizzle on grape seed oil to coat.  Gently rub in the spice mix and oil into each medallion.  Flip the medallions and repeat on the second side.

COOK:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F
  • Place the sheet trays of medallions in the middle of the oven
  • Let roast until you see the moisture in the medallions bubbling.  About 10 minutes.
  • Remove the sheet trays from the oven and flip the medallions over.  Roast until tender.  About 5 minutes.  Then turn off the oven, and leave in the oven for another 5 minutes.  This will allow the side resting on the sheet tray to to get nicely caramelized without burning.
  • Place medallions on a platter caramelized side up

Serve as an appetizer or a side dish.  You can top them with Pan Seared Scallops for a fancy and tasty presentation.  Here is a photo of my Pan Seared Scallops and Squash to give you an idea.

Scallops and Squash Feature

I usually buy Bottle Gourd at the Indian market.  I have occasionally seen it in my local grocery store, or in a Mexican market.  If you can’t find it, use zucchini instead.

This is an easy recipe that can be made quickly when you are short on time.  It also reheats very nicely.  I keep some in the frig and then pair it with a protein to make a meal in a hurry.  Its great for meal prepping.

Hope you enjoy this.  Let me know what you think in the comments section.

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 !!!