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Meatless Monday - Chard Saag Paneer with Spiced Rice

White rice takes on the flavors of spices and fruits so nicely, no wonder it's enjoyed with many meals in places all over the world.  This spiced rice would be really tasty with lots of different dishes, even meats if you're so inclined.

I served it with this Saag Paneer because I was craving Indian food.  Paneer is a semi-soft, very mild Indian Cheese that you can make at home really simply if your local grocery store doesn't carry it.  Chard should be in season in the cooler months, that's when it'll have the best flavor and color.  I used red chard that colored the paneer a pale pink, I wonder what color it would be if I used rainbow chard.

Red Chard Saag Paneer


Spiced Rice

1 1/4 cups long-grain white rice 
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
5 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon green cardamom powder
1 inch of fresh ginger, chopped
2 1/2 cups water 
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under running water for 30 seconds, shaking the strainer to wash the starches off of the grains. Drain well. 

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium flame until it shimmers. Add the cinnamon, peppercorns and cardamom, then the rice, and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat the rice and toast it evenly. Add the ginger, water and salt, stir once or twice, then bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to very low, cover the pot, and let the rice steam, without stirring, until all the water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, 10-20 minutes, then gently fluff with a fork and serve. You can remove the peppercorns and cinnamon stick.

Saag Paneer

7 ounces paneer, in half-inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt
1 large bunch chard
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon chile flakes
3/4 cup greek yogurt 
1/4 cup (whole) milk
juice of half a lemon

For serving:
spiced rice
a handful cilantro leaves 
lemon wedges

Melt the oil in a wide skillet over a medium flame until it shimmers. Add the cheese cubes in a single layer, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let the cheese brown on the each side, 3-5 minutes. It will spit and hiss, so be careful. You can use a thin, metal spatula, to loosen and flip each cube onto an other side. Brown on all second sides, then sprinkle with a bit of salt and remove the cheese to drain on a double layer of paper towels. 

Feel free to reuse the oil in the pan for the next steps unless it has burned or smoked. 

Use a sharp paring knife to slice the chard leaves off of the stems. Give the chard leaves a rough chop, then soak them in a large bowl of cool water, swishing occasionally to loosen any dirt or sand clinging to them.

Heat the oil over a medium flame until it shimmers, then add the onion, ginger, cumin, garlic, chile flakes and turmeric. Saute, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, then add 1/4 cup water and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cover the pan and let the mixture sweat about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, remove the chard leaves from the soaking water and place them in a large saucepan or soup pot with water still clinging to them. Cover the pot and place it over a medium flame. Steam the chard for a few minutes until the leaves are just wilted and bright green. Strain, rinse with cool water, and squeeze out most of their liquid. 

Chop the leaves fairly finely, then stir them into the onion mixture. Stir in the yogurt, milk, and cheese cubes, gently heat over a low flame, then remove from the heat and add the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt or lemon juice if needed to bring up the flavors.

Serve the saag paneer over rice, garnished with cilantro and lemon wedges to squeeze over the top.



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Comments

  1. oh MY!!!!! wonderful, all of it, and nice plate too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Gary, it's really delicious. The bowl was made by Geoff Picket.

      Delete
  2. This sounds wonderful but also wondering about the dish it's served in?

    ReplyDelete

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