Almost every Indian cookbook refers to this dish as saag paneer, or mixed greens and cheese. Palak is the Indian word for spinach, and as I do not add other greens to my recipe I call it palak paneer. There are many variations of this dish; I puree my spinach to attain a velvety texture. This combination of spinach and spices stewing together for a length of time is perfect for the slow cooker.
- Before prepping the ingredients, turn the slow cooker on to the high setting for 15 minutes, until the insert is warmed through.
- Puree the ginger, garlic, and tomatoes in a blender with a little water and transfer to the slow cooker. In the same blender jar, puree the thawed spinach, using a little water to assist, and add to the cooker. Rinse the jar with a couple of tablespoons of water to get all the pureed spinach out; add this to the cooker.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over high heat in a skillet and add the onions. Turn the heat down to medium-high, stir frequently, and sauté the onions until they are a deep golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Mix in the chickpea flour, stirring to brown and to remove the raw taste. Use a little water to make a paste.
- Add the mixture to the cooker, then use a little more water to deglaze the hot pan and get out all the granules of the chickpea roux. Add the cassia, cloves, peppercorns, cardamom, bay leaves, coriander, cumin, ground red chile, turmeric, yogurt, fenugreek, serrano chiles, and salt. Mix well and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a nonstick skillet and fry half the paneer cubes, turning on all sides to sear evenly. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the curry. Repeat with the remaining paneer.
- Cook for another 15 minutes. Remove the cardamom, cassia pieces, cloves, and bay leaves, and serve.
Copyright © 2014 by Neela Paniz.
The New Indian Slow Cooker