I have a weak spot for Indian food and make Big N take me to one of our favorite local places (here and here) about once a week. It’s the spices that I can’t get enough of. That, and the fact that nearly every dish is served in a creamy fattening blow-me-away sauce. I think Big N is on to my trick of ordering way more food than we can possibly eat in one sitting so I can have Indian for lunch (and breakfast, I’m that bad) the next day.
Though I consider myself something of a “spice goddess” in my own kitchen (you should see my spice rack!), I’ll let Bal Arneson borrow the name for her delightful show on the Cooking Chanel. From her show I’ve been learning there are healthier ways to make Indian food at home and she’s inspired me to experiment with my own recipes. The other night I made her recipe for salmon fish cakes with apple chutney. (But I didn’t have figs or almonds so I used pears and cashews in my chutney, still yummy). Her recipe called for paneer cheese, and since I was going to go through the trouble of making paneer from scratch, I thought why not serve my salmon cakes with some delicious saag paneer (spicy spinach with Indian cheese)?
If you’ve ordered saag paneer from different Indian restaurants, you know that there is a sliding scale of goodness. One dish I had tasted like it was made with canned spinach, yuck. Another version came with paneer that was so dry my teeth squeaked as I chewed. I prefer the creamier version of saag paneer with a slightly firm but not too dry paneer. The trouble is most restaurant versions are made with tons of ghee and/or heavy cream. I wanted to cut some calories from my homemade dish. After several attempts, I believe I finally achieved a great home version of saag paneer that’s still creamy but not loaded with butter and cream (yogurt is the key). See my recipe, below.
This dinner took some effort to put together and is definitely not one of your thirty-minute-meals, but it was well worth the extra kitchen duty.
Behold, my healthier Indian meal of salmon cakes with apple pear and cashew chutney and saag paneer, served over basmati rice.
Big N loved it, and I think he was happy enough not to be dragged to another Indian restaurant where we always leave smelling like burnt curry and smoke. Try my healthier version of saag paneer the next time you have a hankering for Indian.