Savoury pancakes with spinach and paneer filling – get your greens in with this easy, delicious vegetarian meal.
When you go out for a curry what is your favourite dish to order? Mine is saag paneer (or palak paneer – saag means greens and palak means spinach). Sometimes I feel like maybe I should be more adventurous and try a different dish every time, but then I remember just how good saag paneer is and I cave and order it yet again. The good news is that it is also pretty easy to make at home so you can enjoy it any time!
If you don’t know what saag paneer is then in short it is cubes of fried paneer cheese in a creamy, spiced spinach sauce. It is really flavourful and delicious but isn’t overly spicy so is a great vegetarian meal for all the family. I’ve made something a little different here and used the saag paneer to stuff some herby savoury pancakes. It is a really delicious way to serve it and is a great sharing meal – just put everything out on the table and let everyone assemble their own pancakes. Of course you could forget the pancakes and just have the filling with rice or naan bread (or both!) if you prefer, but I think that the pancakes really take it up a notch.
The pancakes are also great to have with any other savoury, spicy filling you like, and are also really good just for dipping in chutney. They can be used in pretty much the same way as you would eat naan bread but are considerably quicker and easier to make!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 21oz defrosted frozen spinach
- 1 lb paneer, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 inch piece fresh ginger
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp curry powder
- 6 Tbsp heavy cream
- squeeze lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 Tbsp melted butter
- 3 scallions
- small handful fresh cilantro
- small handful fresh mint
- 2 green chillies
- natural yogurt, chutney and sliced chillies to serve (optional)
1.Start by making the filling: Blitz the spinach in a food processor until it is roughly pureed; set aside.
2.Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large, wide saucepan and add the paneer . Fry for a couple of minutes until it is golden then transfer it to a bowl and set aside.
3.Add the remaining 2 Tbsp oil to the same pan over a low heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and fry gently for about 30 seconds until they become fragrant. Add the onion and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until softened.
4.Peel and finely grate the ginger and garlic then add it to the pan along with the curry powder. Cook for another minute then add the spinach and cook for a couple more minutes.
5.Stir in the cream and paneer then add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste and plenty of salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
6.To make the pancakes; place the flour, cumin, turmeric, salt and eggs in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the milk then whisk in the melted butter.
7.Thinly slice the scallions, finely chop the cilantro and mint and de-seed and finely chop the chillies. Whisk everything into the batter.
8.Lightly grease a frying pan and place over a medium heat. Add a ladleful of the batter and swirl the pan so that the batter spreads and thinly coats the base. Cook for a couple of minutes until set then flip the pancake over with a spatula and cook for a couple of minutes on the other side until golden.
9.Repeat with the rest of the batter, you should get about 6 pancakes. Serve the pancakes filled with the spinach and paneer.