This Indian spinach dish called saag paneer is usually made with spinach, garlic, onions and paneer, but in this variation I thought I would experiment with leeks instead which gives this dish more of a green onion flavor. When leeks are in season I like to use them in leu of onions as they add a different type of onion flavor and a creamy texture to whatever dish they are used in. Leeks and spinach are a great combination and in this saag paneer they taste great together with all the spices and paneer.
Spinach Curry with Paneer and Leeks:
- 1 bunch leeks (2-3 leeks), green leaves removed and white parts finely chopped
- 10 cups fresh spinach finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp chili powder or paprika
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 box 14 oz tofu or 1 block paneer cut into small cubes
- Heat 1 tbsp oil and add cumin seeds and toast in oil for a few seconds until the aroma is released. Add leeks and sauté until soft and tender. Add 1 tbsp butter and melt into the leeks. The butter becomes ghee when melted and gives the dish a nice sweet aroma.
- Add all the spices. Cumin powder, chili or paprika powder, and turmeric powder. Mix the spices into the leeks until the spice fragrances are released, about 2-3 seconds.
- Now add spinach and mix in until the spinach is wilted – about 5 minutes. Add salt and cook covered for 5 more minutes.
- In the meantime brown the tofu or paneer in 1 tbsp oil until golden brown. Add this to the spinach and continue to cook for 3-5 more minutes to allow the spices to get absorbed into the paneer. Turn the stove off.
- Spinach curry with leeks is ready. Serve over rice, or serve with tortillas, chapatis or naan.