BurROTIS featuring: Spinach and Peas Paneer (Saag & Matar Paneer) + Chickpea Curry (Chana Masala)

I have seriously been trying to make Saag Paneer for years. Well I have only attempted it one or two other times but I was so disappointed with the results that I gave up for a while and would just wait to have it when we got delivery.

The very best one I have ever had was from a take away place in England. It was ridiculous. I couldn’t believe what I was tasting. In fact everything that Indian place made was amazing. The variety of vegetarian dishes, the different kinds of rice and it was all so cheap. I swear I ordered about 6 different things just for myself. I mean I shared of course, but everyone else was more into meat so I was in heaven. Something else I want to figure out how to make well is lemon rice. The one from this very same place was incredible. My attempt to copy it, not so much. But it has been a few years, and since this latest version of Saag Paneer turned out so well…. well heck, I just may try my hand again!

Do I recall what this restaurant was called? No. But as I was told when I was there, it really wasn’t out of the ordinary. They have loads of amazing Indian food in England. Ughhhh so jealous!!!

We have a few great North and South Indian places here in Vancouver, BUT…. not to the same extent. The couple I have tried in England, and not in central London or anywhere fancy, were absolutely mind blowing, amazing, drool worthy.

Mmmmmk. Here we go. I won’t say mine are anywhere close cause they ain’t. But compared to some I have had in restaurants these versions are pretty darn good. I personally don’t like the ones where the spinach completely loses it’s form and become a mushy puree, so if you are with me on that you may like this version. As well, you can adjust the flavours to your preference. And if you don’t like something, leave it out!

I have yet to make any decent meat curries. If I ever do I shall let ya know! My pops makes an amazing chicken curry. Perhaps one day I will attempt his recipe!

Saag & Matar Paneer:

What Ya Need:

  • Butter (or ghee or coconut oil)
  • 1 nice sized chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 small or 1/3 large yellow or white onion diced
  • 2-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach (or lots of fresh if you are feeling fancy)
  • 1 cup frozen peas cooked and drained (or de-shelled fresh if you are feeling fancy and have some time on your side) OR/ you can just double your spinach and leave out the peas!
  • Curry powder or paste (or freshly toasted ground spices if you are awesome! I haven’t ventured down that road yet as my pantry/spice collection is already so intense and I just don’t have the patience to do this yet!) – start with a teaspoon and add more if you like. I probably ended up with 1/2 tablespoon.
  • Small handful unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
  • Dash red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 package paneer cubed (if you are vegan you could sub firm tofu)
  • Small drizzle honey (optional / creamed unpasteurized if possible)
  • 1 -2 tablespoons probiotic cream cheese + small splash of 3.5% milk or half n half or cream or plain yogurt
  • OR/^
  • Splash or heavy whipping cream or half n half + dollop of plain yogurt
  • OR/^
  • Coconut cream (optional OR/ if you are vegan and taking out all the dairy!)

^ just do what you think you will like the best flavour-wise! I just happened to have cream cheese and 3.5% milk in the fridge so I did a combo of that! But next time I may try cream and yogurt or coconut milk. I have seen various recipes using all of the above!

How To:

Cook onion, ginger and garlic  in butter til golden.

Add in a dash or three of curry powder and a  hint of cayenne, some pepper flakes (if you are using them) and some salt (go light you can always add more later).

Toss in frozen spinach and move about in pan. Once softened and bit toss in the peas. If it seems dry you can add a little bit of water and more butter.

Keeping cooking for a while on medium low. Adding a little bit more water if needed. Once the spinach is fully broken apart and the peas are starting to go from bright green to a less attractive green you can mix in some probiotic cream cheese, yogurt, coconut milk or cream. Adjust seasoning to taste. Move mixture into a pot on stove to keep developing flavours as you prepare the paneer.

Heat the pan with some more butter and sear the paneer on one side til golden brown. Put the spinach and peas mixture back into the pan with the paneer and let it get all cozy. Throw in some unsweetened dried coconut if you feel inclined and let it soften in the mixture. Keep on low til ready to serve.

What Ya Need:

Chana Masala:

  • Butter (or ghee or coconut oil)
  • One nice chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 small or 1/2 large onion diced
  • Lots of fresh garlic minced
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp – 1 tbsp curry powder or paste (I like Madras!) – amount depends on preference!
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Good salt
  • 2 small or 1 large tomato diced fine (I like yellow and orange ones best but red or a mixture works well too!)
  • 1 small or half a large orange or yellow bell pepper diced fine
  • Cooked chick peas (soaked from dry then boiled til tender)
  • Pepper Jelly (maybe a teaspoon but do to your taste)
  • Apple cider vinegar (VERY tiny splash – maybe 1 tsp)
  • water
  • Small drizzle honey (optional / creamed unpasteurized if possible)

How To:

Cook onion, ginger, garlic and a pinch of saffron in butter til golden.

Add in a dash or three of curry powder and a  hint of cayenne and some salt (go light you can always add more later).

Throw in the diced tomatoes and bell pepper. Cook til broken down saucy-looking.

Throw in your chickpeas, pepper jelly, honey, apple cider vinegar and cook for a while. You can add water if it starts to get dry and more salt. Keep checking the chick peas for flavour. It takes a while for them to really absorb the sauce. You can also add in extra fresh tomato if you want and add more salt if the flavour needs a boost.

Other Bits & Pieces:

This time around I simply dolloped some of each into a roti, rolled it up and ate it burrito style. But you could go full on and make yourself an Indian feast!

  • Roti (this time I used Spinach Roti from Indian Life)
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Rice (make it Pulao-style with peas and cumin seeds or go for gold and try to make a yellow turmeric lemon rice or a wicked veggie biryani!)
  • Naan (garlic naan is my fave brushed with lots of butter mmmmm)
  • Papadums
  • Chutneys (coconut, mango, whatever you like best)
  • Spicy Indian pickles (I like green mango and lime best!)
  • Plain yogurt or Raita (shredded cucumber and/or carrot and some black pepper and salt)
  • Another dish or three?! Perhaps Veggie korma or Jalfrezie or Lentil Dahl or Gobi Aloo! Once I have my own versions I like I shall post 😀
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The same onion, ginger, garlic mixture with added saffron for the Chana Masala.

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Tomato and bell pepper added to the onion-garlic-ginger-saffron mixture!

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Onion, fresh grated ginger and garlic sauteeing in olive oil for the spinach and peas paneer.

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Spinach and peas mingling with the onion-garlic-ginger mixture.

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Spinach and Peas mixture set aside to continue developing flavour and texture.

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Chickpeas and tomato-pepper mixture developing flavour and reducing liquid.

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Paneer getting seared.

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Chana Masala ready to be eaten with rice or wrapped in a roti or naan!

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Spinach and Peas Paneer ready to serve with rice or wrapped in roti or naan.

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