Fresh Cheese with Spinach Sauce (Saag Paneer)
Saag paneer, a dish of firm fresh cheese in stewed spinach, is a standard Indian restaurant offering. We like it so much that we wanted to create a homemade version, beginning with the cheese. Surprisingly, it can be made with supermarket ingredients and with relative ease.
Why This Recipe Works
We didn’t stray far from the usual technique when developing our saag paneer recipe—we brought milk and a healthy dose of salt to a boil and stirred in white vinegar (which we preferred over lemon juice for its neutral taste) until curds formed. We drained the curds, wrapped them in cheesecloth, and squeezed out the excess moisture. We devised a method for pressing the cheese between two dinner plates weighted with a heavy Dutch oven; the process took about 30 minutes. For the spinach sauce for our saag paneer recipe, we began by trying different types of spinach: baby spinach, mature curly spinach, and frozen spinach. To our surprise, frozen spinach performed the best—both types of fresh spinach resulted in slimy, swampy sauces.