Saag Paneer made with Kale

Kale is so delicious and nutritious and easy to grow that I like to show people how to blanch it so it’s tender and sweet. Paneer is a fresh Indian cheese.

Yield: Serves 4

  • About ¾ pound kale (1 big bunch)
  • 8-ounce block paneer, cut in smallish cubes
  • 3 tablespoons light vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 big ripe fresh tomatoes, chopped, or one 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • Salt to taste
  1. Wash the kale. Strip leaves from stems and tear in bite-sized pieces.
    Slice the stems very thin. Blanch in boiling salted water until tender. You can tell when kale is perfectly blanched because it will turn bright green when the starches turn to sugars. This takes longer than people usually give it, about 5 minutes. The best test is to taste it. It should be delicious and melt in your mouth. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil over low heat in a frying pan. Fry the paneer cubes, stirring frequently, till they’re starting to turn golden brown, at least on one side, about 8 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the frying pan. Fry in the mustard seeds till they pop, then add the cumin, coriander, fenugreek, crushed red pepper, and onion and cook till the onion starts to get tender. Add the garlic and ginger and cook a minute or two.
  4. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Squeeze extra water from the kale, and chop it up medium medium-coarse. Add the kale and cook 5 minutes to blend flavors.
  5. Fold in the paneer and stir gently till the dish is heated through.
  6. Taste and add salt. This dish will taste like nothing until you get the salt right, and then it starts to sing!