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Old 06-27-2018, 07:15 AM   #1
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Saag paneer vs Palaak Paneer

Im filing this one under the " you learn something new every day".

One of my favorite Indian dishes is Spinach with paneer cheese.
I get it almost every time I go to an Indian restaurant ( the Indian restaurant I often go to has a buffet style lunch, so it is almost always offered).

I usually go up to the buffet line, I dont really read the names of the dishes, I just visually look and grab a little bit of everything ( that is vegetarian, they organize the buffet so one side is vegetarian, the other is meat based).

i always grab a scoop of the ' green stuff, sometimes labeled as saag paneer other times as palaak paneer. But, since they are never offered on the same day, I think nothing of it and just accept what it is called that day. Both sound right to me, and any time I see one, I almost forget that the other one exists until this past week.

I made a version at home, and i always go to this one Indian website for the video recipe ( because I make it infrequently enough, that I have to get a quick reminder of the ingredients).

So this time, saag paneer was in my head ( forgetting about palaak paneer), so I typed that into the search area in the site, and the video came up. When I started to watch the video, it seemed all wrong compared to what ive done in the past. the technique and even some of the ingredients. That's when the light bulb went on. I then typed palaak paneer and the video i was familiar with came up.

I did a little research, and it turns out that 'Palaak' is the India word for Spinach, and ' Saag ' is a more general term for greens. Therefore, Palaak Paneer is technically a version of Saag Paneer, but not the other way around. greens used can be any greens. Some mentioned have been spinach, mustard greens, kale, fenugreek leaves (other sites listed broccoli and even brussel sprouts)

Anyway, this was news to me, so I just figured I'd pass it on. I love when I learn new things !! And whats funny, is I've been calling it interchangeably for the last 30 years not realizing they both existed until i really thought about it.

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Old 06-27-2018, 09:50 AM   #2
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Correct, I know this but in my mind I do not separate them. I always think of them as the same thing even knowing that is wrong. They are my favorites but they do not look pretty.
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Old 06-27-2018, 09:55 AM   #3
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they do not look pretty.
No they dont.
Definitely one of those things that taste better than they look.
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:01 AM   #4
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Correct, I know this but in my mind I do not separate them. I always think of them as the same thing even knowing that is wrong. They are my favorites but they do not look pretty.
Same here. I knew the difference, too, but in my mind, leafy greens are leafy greens. I'm not in love with one type versus another, so I don't really pay much attention.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but where I work, I am the one pasty white European-looking guy on a team of 8 people. Everyone else comes from different parts of the Indian subcontinent, including India, Pakistan, and Nepal. So I am constantly being corrected and educated on the subtleties of the cuisines from that area.
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:50 AM   #5
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Next time you go, ask for 'saag aloo' - spinach type greens with potatoes. In the UK it's one of the most popular vegetarian Indian dishes.

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Old 06-27-2018, 12:09 PM   #6
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Awesome info! This reminds me that it is still early enough in the gardening season to put in some spinach seed and my lettuce is getting a little over grown and could use some more lettuce seeds. My collards, first time ever, needs to be trimmed/harvested, and it's going to last well into the cooler fall weather when the time comes.


I haven't made paneer yet, after all this time making cheese. I aspire to make long aged melty type cheeses so paneer never really rung that bell. Why do you like paneer?
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:19 PM   #7
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I like paneer for the opposite reasons that I like other cheeses.
Its not gooey or melty at all, it maintains is shape when cooked and has like slight rubbery/ chewy texture. Also tastes very creamy so works nice in the indian dishes.

I thinks its more of a texture thing than the taste.
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Old 06-27-2018, 12:31 PM   #8
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Thanks Larry! I don't think I can sell my husband or son on a non-melty cheese that has one of the worst vegetables known to man, spinach or greens, aside it, to them. But I might like it! I'm going to have to look around for recipes and I'm used to finding 'my own food' while at the same time, this past month, making them chicken, pork, beef, venison even though I'm not eating that lately.
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Old 06-27-2018, 06:41 PM   #9
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Awesome info! This reminds me that it is still early enough in the gardening season to put in some spinach seed and my lettuce is getting a little over grown and could use some more lettuce seeds. My collards, first time ever, needs to be trimmed/harvested, and it's going to last well into the cooler fall weather when the time comes.


I haven't made paneer yet, after all this time making cheese. I aspire to make long aged melty type cheeses so paneer never really rung that bell. Why do you like paneer?
My Indian friend, brought up on a tea estate where her father was the company pilot, makes paneer (or a substitute thereof) by straining yoghourt through muslin overnight. She says their old family retainer - cook, housekeeper, nanny - you name it, he did it - used to make it like that.
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Old 06-27-2018, 06:43 PM   #10
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Next time you go, ask for 'saag aloo' - spinach type greens with potatoes. In the UK it's one of the most popular vegetarian Indian dishes.

di reston


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I second that!
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Old 07-07-2018, 11:34 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by larry_stewart View Post
I like paneer for the opposite reasons that I like other cheeses.
Its not gooey or melty at all, it maintains is shape when cooked and has like slight rubbery/ chewy texture. Also tastes very creamy so works nice in the indian dishes.

I thinks its more of a texture thing than the taste.
paneer is easy to make. I like it because you can saute it. I like to smoke it, too. I don't puree my greens. I love fresh fenugreek leaves (methi). I can't get methi here. I add chickpeas when I make Palek paneer.
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Old 09-16-2018, 03:15 PM   #12
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Actually palak and saag are HINDI words. There is no "India language". There are over 70 different languages in India and more than 200 dialects. Not all of them are based on Sanskrit, either.

I prefer the saag/palak paneer dishes that DO NOT puree the greens. Look for a dish called "Methi Matar Malai" or "Methi Malai Paneer" - they use fenugreek leaves and the taste, texture, aroma etc are all different from the saag/palak paneer. Very good. But I've only been able to find it in a restaurant in non-pureed form just once. So I just make it at home.
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Old 09-16-2018, 07:06 PM   #13
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My wife's fave curry is a paneer. I must ask which one it is. I'm surprised she has never asked me to replicate it.

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