Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Swiss Chard Paneer

Dear Foodies,

The colder temperatures outside make you crave for hearty, warm food that comforts the soul and the body. It could sometimes be answered by a hearty bowl of soup, or a piled up sandwich. But sometimes you just want to feel the warm grains of rice against your fingers and gobble it up with a side dish of your choice. Nothing can match the satisfaction of eating rice for me, I almost always tend to over eat when its around. And when its paired with greens, you can even convince yourself that its good for you :)

Most greens taste wonderful simply sautéed in your oil of choice, a little garlic and crushed chilli flakes. Spinach, swiss chard, collard greens all do great cooked this way. But last Tuesday at the farmer's market I noticed that huge piles of greens were being lapped up by the bag loads. I couldn't identify them immediately. Curious to see what they were I went to get a closer look and noticed tiny bell peppers growing on a few, while some others had squash flowers and others had little string beans growing on them. I have never seen these being used in cooking before and asked one of the ladies picking up yet another bag of them. And there it was again, sauté in oil with garlic! On my next visit I'm going to be grabbing some of those greens too, and yes, will report back to you :) I suddenly feel like I have many more options for my greens and not just spinach.

Saag (Swiss Chard) Paneer
  • 1 bunch - Swiss chard, washed
  • 1/2 slab - Paneer, thawed if using frozen (~15 cubes)
  • 1/4 cup - Onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup - Tomato, cubed (substitute with 1Tbsp tomato puree)
  • 1/2 tsp each of Ginger & Garlic, minced
  • 2 nos - Green chillies, slit lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp - Cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp - Coriander powder
  • 1 Tbsp - Oil/Ghee
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp - Garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp - Yogurt/Heavy cream
  1. Rinse the swiss chard, discard the tough lower stems and roughly chop the rest.
  2. Heat oil in a saucepan, once its ready add the sliced onions, ginger & garlic. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over them and let the onions soften a bit.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, chillies, turmeric, cumin and coriander powders next and cook until the tomatoes turn into a mush, about 3-4 mins.
  4. Now add the chopped greens (in batches if needed) and stir. It might seem like a lot of greens but they wilt into nothingness very quickly. Sprinkle a little more salt and continue to cook for a few minutes until the greens become tender.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a shallow pan and cut the paneer into 1/2" thick slices. Place the slices on the pan and brown on both sides. Be cautious while doing so as the moisture in the paneer will cause the oil to splutter. Remove and cut into 1/2" cubes.
  6. The greens will release some water when cooking, if not add a about 1/4 cup water and blend using a hand blender. If using a regular blender allow the contents to cool for a bit. Blend to the desired consistency, I prefer to leave it a little coarse or it'll soon resemble swiss chard juice. Not good.
  7. Continue to cook the saag on a low heat. Whip some yogurt and add to the mixture along with the paneer cubes. Taste and check for seasonings, sprinkle your favorite garam masala and simmer for 5-10 more minutes on a very low heat.
  8. Garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve along with mildly spiced rice or pulka's.

I served this with a simplified jeera rice - cooked the rice separately and then tossed in jeera roasted in some ghee on top. The swiss chard cooked this way is an excellent way to showcase its mild flavor. Greens cooked with dal is very common, but when it comes to swiss chard, that method completely overpowers its delicate flavor. In this dish though you can really enjoy it and you'll even feel like you've pampered yourself :) If you've never cooked with or tasted swiss chard before, this is a great starting point.

Blog Update: I added a print option to each post. Click on print friendly at the end of any post and you can choose which portions of it appear on the final print.

17 thoughts:

Pavani said...

When I think of side dishes, Rice is the first thing that comes to mind.. Roti & bread are all last choices.. Rice is easy to make and hearty too. Love your swiss chard paneer recipe. Will have to try this, I have half a bunch of it in the fridge to use up.

Unknown said...

Looks very tempting n creamy...and welcome back...hope n wish to see many new dishes here

Pavithra Elangovan said...

Good to see u back with beautiful and tempting one. Swiss chard with paneer looks tempting and nice idea too..

Unknown said...

Hey Priya,

The paneer dish looks so inviting..So rich and yummy...:)



Nithya said...

Extremely creamy and yummy looking paneer :) Rice and paneer are super good combi :)

Priya said...

Pavani, I sometimes wish it were not that easy to cook rice :D I don't even need a side dish, avakaya and perugu will also do :)

Sharmilee, thank you :) I too hope I don't vanish this time :D

Pavithra, thank you, it feels great to be back :) Absolutely love the photos in your blog!

Sameena, adding paneer does make the simple greens feel exotic.

Nithya, they sure are, can't have enough of them.

Priya Suresh said...

Glad to see u back after a long Priya..Paneer and swiss chard together looks absolutely fabulous..

FewMinute Wonders said...

Looks picture perfect.

Indian Cuisine Blogroll said...

very interesting...i love paneer in any dish..

sathya said...

Interesting recipe, love the swiss chard instead of spinach !

musical said...

Love it! I usually make a dry version of this and add some rosemary and it tastes pretty good. Love how chard is so colorful and flavorful!

AJ said...

Looks delicious!!

indianspicemagic said...

Have been frequently visiting your blog for long time.Atlast you are back.Fusion of desi recipe with swiss chard... Nice innovation.

Sonia{7spice} said...

Oh...good to see you back Priya! It's truly warm post from you after long time. I do hope now your honeymoon is over. ;) :D

Curry looks so good and love the recipe too as it's low fat. I've been eyeing to swiss chard in market but hesitate to buy. Now I'm confirmed. :)

Priya said...

Priya, it feels good to blog again and get back in touch with all of you :)

Srimathi, thank you :)

Cooking blog, same here :)

Sathya, I got tired of making just a simple stir fry with chard.

musical, thats a really unique combo, will try it with my next bunch of chard. I always pick the colorful bunch instead of the uni-colored ones :)

Sonia, haan ji, done :)) You must try chard, it has a mild, but great flavor.

abraham said...

Looks very tempting n creamy...

Nilam Ray said...

Thanks for sharing this informative information about swiss chard powder with us. It's very helpful. Keep it up!

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