Unfortunately, this version is not a light dish when served in your local India lunch buffet line. Clarified butter and deep fried cheese adds too many calories for this weight-watching kitchen commando.
Plus, it is not easy to find paneer -- but upon doing a little research, I found out it tastes similar to cottage cheese. Just imagine all the liquid squeezed out and the curds formed into cheese blocks. So I put two and two together and came up with a budget-busting, calorie-skimping entree anyone can make.
The main spice is curry powder. I just use cumin - open a jar and smell -- it makes up 75% of your typical curry powder. And cumin is much easier to find on any grocery store spice shelf; plus it's much cheaper than curry powder. Pick up an onion to saute, as this will add a bit of caramelized sweetness.
Slow cooking the spinach and cottage cheese with cumin creates a lush dish that is low in calories, especially if you use low fat cottage cheese. So give my delish, India-inspired, 99 Cent Chef Saag Paneer a try -- all it takes is a little spinach chopping and some slow cooking.
- 2 bunches of spinach - or about two 6 ounce packages.
- 1 whole onion - chopped
- Small 8 ounce container of cottage cheese.
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin - if you have curry powder, use that.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 tablespoons of milk - optional during final cooking stage.
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in medium sized pan or pot. Add chopped onion and saute until soft, about 5-10 minutes over a medium heat.
Mix in cumin and saute for a couple of minutes. Add cottage cheese and mix well. Start adding chopped spinach. It will cook down in a minute or so. Continue chopping spinach and adding it to pot or pan until it is well blended into cottage cheese/onion mixture.
Once all the spinach is added, season with salt and pepper, reduce heat to low and cover to cook for 20 - 30 minutes. Check spinach mixture from time to time to make sure liquid does not completely cook out. Stir periodically.
As spinach cooks down it adds a lot of liquid. The object is to cook spinach until very soft and cream-like. The cottage cheese will dissolve into the sauce. Add a couple of spoonfuls of milk if it starts to dry out.