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Sag Paneer

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
pinch of cumin seed
2 cardamom seeds
1 stick of cinnamon
2 or 3 bay leaves
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon each fresh ginger and garlic
1 small fresh tomato, sliced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound fresh spinach, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon tomato puree
fresh cilantro leaves

Heat oil in saucepan and saute chopped onion until light brown.
Add cumin seed, cardamom, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cloves,
ginger, garlic, sliced tomato and black pepper and saute about 30
seconds. Add chopped spinach and saute, stirring until it begins
to change color. When it goes dark green, it means it is about
half cooked and still remains crunchy.

Add salt, cumin, turmeric, coriander powder and garam masala. Mix
well with spinach while it is sauteeing. Add cream, tomato puree,
cilantro and cubes of cheese (paneer). Cook it well, stirring so
it doesn't scorch. When cream boils, cook another 1 1/2 minutes
over high heat. Serves 4.


2 quarts whole milk
1/2 t. salt (optional)
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice

In a deep, heavy 6-8 qt. pan over medium-high heat, combine milk
and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until milk comes to a full
boil, 15-20 minutes. (Don't worry if the bottom of the pan scorches
a little bit.) Stir in lemon juice and leave on heat without
disturbing while curd separates from the clear, amber whey. This
will happen almost at once and is a very dramatic sight, especially
the first time you see it. (If it doesn't coagulate you may need
a little more lemon juice.) Boil 2 minutes without stirring (milk
will foam quite a bit) and then remove from heat.

Line a colander with 3-4 thicknesses of cheesecloth (large enough
to hang over the sides of the colander) that have been dipped in
water and wrung dry. Gently pour curds and whey into colander.
If desired, catch the whey in a container placed under the colander
and use in place of water in the recipe for Mattar Paneer or Sag
Paneer, etc. Allow cheese to drain until most of the whey is gone,
about 5 minutes. Scrape cheese toward the center. Draw together
the corners of the cheesecloth. Twist to wrap cheese tightly.
Turn over in colander and let rest at room temp. for 20 minutes.
To press cheese fold cheesecloth securely over the cheese to enclose,
then invert onto a plate or pie pan. Set 4-5 quart pan filled with
water onto cheese to press it. Let stand 30 minutes. Lift pan
off and unwrap cheese. Discard any excess liquid. Use cheese
immed. or wrap airtight and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

Makes 1 1/4 cups.


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