This recipe for Chard Paneer is a twist on my favourite Indian takeaway dish (Saag Paneer). Get the recipe below.
Fakeaway or takeaway?
I am a real creature of habit. There are certain times where all I want is an Indian takeaway and when I do, I know exactly what I’m going to order. Sure, I end up ordering half the menu but you can guarantee that Saag Paneer is going to be one of those dishes.
Saag Paneer is the perfect side dish. Most British Indian takeaway curries are incredibly rich, cooked in plenty of ghee and often as sweet as they are spicy. Whether its a vegetable curry packed full of fluffy potatoes, cauliflower and tomatoes or slow cooked meat, each mouthful simply melts. Served on the side, Saag Paneer provides some welcome bite from the salty, squeeky cheese and an earthy depth of flavour from the spinach.
As much as I love hanging up my apron and deciding to leave the cooking to someone else, I also like the challenge of trying to recreate my favourite takeaway dishes at home. By coming up with my own recipe for Chard Paneer I can control the levels of oil, salt and sugar in the dish. Who really knows what goes into their takeaway? A fakeaway has to be healthier right?
Although in the UK Saag Paneer is almost always made with spinach, “saag” actually just means greens. When making it at home you can sub the spinach out for any leafy green vegetable you like. Given that I’ve been having a love affair with chard recently it was only a matter of time before I tried making Chard Paneer.
Unlike spinach, chard keeps its structure when it wilts. Fresh, green ribbons of chard become soft and velvety, not slimy or watery like wilted spinach. The flashes of yellow, red and white from using rainbow chard also make the dish all the more colourful! But, the main reason for using chard? It has so much more flavour that spinach!!! It’s just the better vegetable in so many ways.
Trust me, once you’ve made Saag Paneer with chard you won’t want it made with spinach ever again! Looks like you’re going to be having fakeaways more often…
- Heat 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil in a frying pan and add the onions and salt.
- Fry the onions on a moderate heat for 5-8 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Once the onions are beginning to soften add in the turmeric, chilli powder, garlic and ginger: gently heat the spices along with the softened onions.
- In a separate pan, heat the remaining sunflower oil before adding the paneer cubes.
- Turn the paneer cubes over in the pan as and when their edges begin to brown and go crispy (roughly 5-8 minutes).
- Once the paneer is cooked, add to the onions.
- Next add the chard to the pan along with the garam masala and a splash of water.
- Cover with a lid and let the chard wilt (roughly 5 minutes).
- Serve with the wedges of lemon.