It is the time of the year when the days are getting too cold and chilly with frozen rains, some snow and high speed winds. It is just mid-November not even official winters…and here is this chilling cold. To cope up with the freezing temperatures here, the body should be well nourished with foods that keep our body warm, immunize us against the cold and infections. I tried to incorporate green leafy veggies like spinach, kale, mustard greens, fenugreek, carrots and other winters veggies in our diet along with nuts. One of our favorite winter dish is Saag. Saag is a curried dish of green leafy veggies like mustard green(sarson), fenugreek(methi), spinach(palak) or amaranth(chaulai), popular in Indian sub-continent. Being a North Indian, any kind of saag was one of the main food items at during winters along with the other winter delicacies. As I have mentioned in my Sarson ka Saag post also how I am influenced by my mom’s and grandmoms’ about eating fresh and seasonal food. Through my mom’s cooking and over the years I learned the value of eating fresh and healthy food and same I too want this to pass on to my kids. Fortunately, my kids are not picky eaters and they eat almost everything that I make. Though at times they do have their tantrums 😏but then who doesn’t have it. And they happily eat their green leafy veggies too.
For me, saag is any kind of green leafy veggies, cooked together to create a power-packed dish. You can add chickpeas, paneer or tofu or corn or mixed veggies. In the US here, we get a lot of green leafy veggies all around the year and spinach is our favourite, my kids love Palak Paneer and Palak aur Kabuli Chane ka Pulao. I often need palak puree(Palak Paneer Paranta) or fenugreek leaves(Methi Parantha) in Kale is something that I was introduced when I moved to the US. Initially, for the first few months I hesitated to buy it, but then I googled about it and came to know its various benefits and that it one of the healthiest greens!! It can be used for in making curry like palak paneer, in saag along with mustard greens or fenugreek or stir fry with garlic as a side dish.
Recently I joined a food blogging group “Foodie Monday Blog Hop” a group of wonderful food bloggers who share their recipes on a decided theme suggested by one of the members. Since I joined the group on Friday, till then the theme was already decided. SaagSaga, and I happily agreed to participate from this week only. Initially, I decided to make this Kale and Spinach curry with Paneer for the blog hop theme. But then finally decided to make these Paneer koftas for adding to the curry for a change as we had Khoya Paneer(recipe to be updated soon) two days back that I had made for some guests. The best thing about these Paneer koftas is that these are not fried but made in the microwave. Quite a few years back I got this recipe of non-fried Paneer koftas from Tarla Dalal book on microwave cooking and since then I make these whenever I make Malai Koftas or add in palak curry or this kale and spinach saag. These koftas are soft and melt in mouth and are made using very less oil. The recipe is quite adaptable as per the ingredients used. You can use any of the greens like collards greens, mustard greens, fenugreek, spinach or radish leaves. Instead of koftas, paneer, tofu, chickpeas or soya nuggets and even mixed veggies can be added.
So come let’s see how to I made this so yummy and healthy Paneer Koftas(non-fried) in Palak and Kale Gravy(Saag).
Palak and Kale Saag with Paneer Koftas(non-fried)
Non-fried Paneer koftas made from fresh Paneer/Cottage Cheese in Kale and Spinach Saag
- Kale- 1 bunch(2-3 Cups)
- Spinach(Palak)- 2 Cups
- Onions-1 medium
- Garlic Cloves-7-8
- Ginger-1″ piece
- Tomatoes- 2
- Green Chillies-1-2(or as required)
- Garam Masala- 1 Tsp
- Red Chilli Powder-1/2 Tsp(optional)
- Oil- 1 Tbsp
- Cumin Seeds- 1 Tsp
- Salt to taste
For Paneer Koftas
- Fresh Paneer- 1 cup
- Potatoes-1 medium
- Cornflour-1-2 Tbsp
- Salt 1/4 Tsp
- Red Chilli Powder- 1/2 Tsp
- Cilantro/ Fresh Coriander(optional)- 1 Tbsp
- Oil- 1tsp
- Wash Spinach and Kale leaves in running water to clean from all the dirt. Trim the leaves from the stem and finely chop.
- In a pan take some water, add leaves and cook till the leaves are soft and tender. Add spinach leaves after 2-3 minutes of adding kale leaves as spinach takes less time to cook.
- Once cooked, puree the greens.
- Finely chop onions, garlic, ginger and green chilies.
- Puree tomatoes.
- In a pan, add oil. As I have mentioned in my earlier posts also, I use mustard oil for veggies and curries, you can use any oil of your choice. Heat oil and add, asafoetida(hing), cumin seeds. When seeds crackle, add finely chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies. I pureed chillies with tomatoes, you can do either way.
- Add onions when ginger-garlic start to turn light brown. Saute onions till these are light pink, then add pureed tomatoes.
- Cook till the masala starts leaving the oil, add garam masala, and red chili powder(optional).
- Add pureed greens, adjust the consistency by adding very little water.
- Cover and cook for another 4-5 minutes, till the greens, are cooked in masala. You can add a tbsp of cornmeal to get the rich and creamy texture. I ran out of cornmeal so I didn’t add any. A Tbsp of cream can also be added.
- Switch off the flame, cover and keep aside. Before serving reheat, make the tempering of cumin seeds and red chili powder in desi ghee (called Tadka) and serve hot with the bread of your choice.
For making koftas:
- Take fresh paneer. I usually use homemade paneer, click here for the recipe of homemade paneer. Store-bought paneer can also be used. Grate it finely.
- Mash potatoes and mix with paneer, cornflour. Add coriander leaves and red chili powder, salt and mix together nicely. Add oil and again mix, then form tennis sized balls, flatten a little with hands. This gives you 9-10 koftas.
- Microwave the balls for 2 minutes Start with 1min 30 sec. If you feel koftas are too soft microwave for another 10-15 sec not more than that. These koftas leave water little water. Do not microwave these for more than 2 minutes, as koftas may get hard.
- You can alos fry koftas, incase you don’t want to microwave. For that, heat oil in a pan and fry the koftas on medium flame till light brown.
- Add to saag or gravy, don’t over mix as these are soft and may crumble.
- These koftas can be added to any curry like makhani curry or simple onion tomato masala curry.
- Enjoy the koftas in saag with any bread of your choice.
We relish the saag preparations with Makki ki Roti or Missi Roti. But I ran out of both cornmeal(Makki atta) and chickpea flour(Besan), so I made Chappatis to go with it. It can also be had with steamed or jeera rice. Make it a gluten-free treat avoid adding asafoetida for making it gluten-free. Add tofu or chickpeas or any kind of veggies instead of paneer or paneer koftas for a vegan treat.
Make these greens and enjoy with the non-fried koftas or any other addition of your choice. Both Kale and Spinach are rich sources of iron, calcium and other minerals. These are rich in anti-oxidants, folates and Vit. K. Enjoy the healthy meal with yum factor. These cooked greens/saag can be prepared ahead and be refrigerated for good 2-3 days. Do temper it or add a big dollop of butter, before serving, as it adds a fresh taste to the saag. Make a big batch and freeze for a week. Thaw in the refrigerator for few hours before re-heating it.
Taking my Paneer Koftas in Kale and Spinach Saag to #171FoodieMondayBlogHop where the theme this week is #SaagSaga!! This is the first time I am taking part in that and looking forward to some amazing themes in future!!
I am also taking this yummy Saag with Koftas to Hearth and Soul party.
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Thanks for stopping by. Keep coming back for more such yummy recipes 😋!!