2 cups of blanched nettle (approx. 1 huge bunch fresh)
2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
200 g paneer cheese cut into 2 cm cubes
A medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 heaped tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 large green chilli, finely chopped – serrano is the classic; remove the seeds if you want less heat
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garam masala
½ cup coconut cream
1. Using a glove one hand and scissors in the other, chop the leaves and tips off the nettle stalks (thin young stems are fine to keep). Put the nettle in a bowl and pour in enough boiling water to cover them, give them a stir for 30 seconds, then drain (reserve a little of this ‘nettle tea’ to add back in later). Pour cold water over the nettle to refresh, then drain again. Chop finely.
2. Pre-chop the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli.
3. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan along with the cayenne, turmeric and salt, and fry the paneer briefly until golden on all sides. Remove the paneer from the oil.
4. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli into the hot oil in the pan. Fry gently until deep caramel-brown, stirring all the while, and adding a drizzle of your reserved nettle tea as needed when the pan becomes too dry. Add the garam masala, cumin, and coriander, and stir until the smell becomes harmonious.
5. Add in the nettle and coconut cream and cook gently for a further 5 minutes.
6. Add the paneer cubes back into the saag for a final warming, and serve on basmati rice or naan bread with a dollop of yoghurt (the rice shown here is made with lightly toasted mustard seeds and shredded coconut).