Saag Panner

After all my years in the northern plains and my familiarity with Punjabi cuisine, it is quite surprising to me that I still do not have either Saag panner or Palak panner on Kannada cuisine!! In fact Palak panner is one of the first foods that I cooked, all by myself as a 13-14 year old. My father was posted in Amritsar, somewhere during the time when commandos, machine guns and 'encounters' were as common as Aloo-Pyaz in Punjab. But what I still remember of Amritsar is the food...Lawrence road, Kesar Dhaba, the Langar at Harmandir Sahib, Ghadiwali khoti's Jaleebi and the ubiquitous samosa and panner pakode...Ah! those were the days when food was plenty as appetite was very healthy. (Kinda remember Papa saying that Ghadiwali khoti belonged to legendary cricketer Madan Lal.) Those were the days of endless eating.Boy! I miss those days.
Then,, when it was almost time to head back to south, I was in sheer despair. Where will I find Chole, Palak Panner, Tandoori Rotis, Rasmali back home. I kept pestering my mother to take down the recipe from my land lady Mini aunty -a genial Sardarni. Mother did not show the least bit of interest. So I  went ahead and asked my landlady for recipes. She was very happy, just that, she wanted me to learn everything that comes out of a Punjabi kitchen. She was training a daughter she never had. So in order to learn a handful of my favorites, I had to sit through the ordeal of making Tinda ki subzee, aloo badi and Roghun Josh. Well, I should say, it was not just sitting through but very much a hands-on affair and over a few weeks, I had prepared a lot of Punjabi delicacies. I most probably wrote down those recipes as well. But over the years, I lost those recipe.
I had also prepared Rogun Josh too with lots of tomatoes, but did not care for it much. My father the only one who would eat meat, said it was unremarkable. Others that I lost were not something I cared for away way. But who knew that I would have a food blog one day and it did not matter if I liked something or not.
The ones that remains with me are Palak Panner, Chole, Rajma,Mutter Panner, Saag, Dal Makhani,Rasmalai-Kheer, because I made these so often that my then young brain lapped it up in its folds. Now I can make these in my sleep.

I have never seen chard in India, but it is one of the most common vegetable available during winters. I have used it here. Use any greens of choice.

Serves 4

Spinach 1 small Bunch (about 4 cups)
Chard 1 small bunch (about  5-6  gaint leaves)
Ghee 1/4 cup
Onions 2 medium
Jeera 1/2 tsp
Garlic  5 cloves
Ginger 2"
Green Chillies 6 +(adjust according to taste)
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Dhania powder 1 tbsp
Cummin 2 tsp
Pepper powder 1 tsp
Panner 400 grams
Garam Masala a pinch
Heavy cream 2 tbsp (Malai /Kene)
Juice of a lemon.
Butter (optional)

  • Wash and clean the greens thoroughly. Dice the Panner and saute it in a tsp of oil/ghee till golden brown. Set it aside.
  • Bring a big stock pot filled with water to a rapid boil.Blanch the spinach in the hot water for 10 seconds and remove from heat. This gets rid of the slightly bitter finish of the spinach.
  • To the same stock pot, squeeze the juice of half a lemon. Blanch the chard in the hot water till the chard is slightly tender about 10 minutes. Remove and allow it to cool. Once it is cool, combine it with the blanched spinach and green chillies in a blender and pulse till smooth. Set it aside.
  • Combine the onions, ginger and garlic in a blender and blend with a little water till the mixture is smooth.
  • Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pot. Throw in the cumin.Once the cumin stops spluttering, throw in the onion paste. Cook till the oil floats on top. If the mixture sticks to the bottom of the pot, add a little water to it.
  • Now throw in the dhania powder, cumin powder and turmeric powders. Stir well, cook till the oil floats on top and the spices are fragrant and cooked.
  • Stir in the pureed greens and heat thoroughly. Stir in the panner. Simmer for a few more minute.
  • Adjust salt and finish with Garam Masala and butter if using.
  • Serve with a dollop of cream, lemon wedges, sliced onions.and green chillies.


Recipeswap said...

Yummy saga planner, I like saga paneer more than the pander makes I etc. looks delicious. said...

yummy yummy just yumm.....dats it...

Kannada Cuisine said...

@ too.. just fresh winter green peas in Mutter panner is what I would happily eat.. else I would not bother.

Thanks :)

Vani said...

I like that the paneer is fried, though I do like it without being fried too. Love it any way, basically :) I liked your Punjabi landlady story. It is so good to be exposed to various cultures when young, alva? Lucky you.

Kannada Cuisine said...

@ Vani,
Me too, If the panner is fresh, I will use it right away without frying; but sometimes, the store bought Panner can be rather tough and stale and frying alters the texture and makes it palatable.
...yes Vani, I kind of agree lucky me for having been all over the place :)

Priya Suresh said...

Omg, seriously you are killing me with ur beautiful clicks,wish to have this saag paneer with some rotis..

radha said...

Not just the paneer, the spread alongside looks yummy.

Sudhir R said...

Waiting for a call from Harmander Sahib! Inshaallha