There are a huge number of variations on the theme of Saagwala, or Saag, a dish originating in the northwest of the sub-continent. It is primarily a dish prepared with a sauce of creamed green vegetables, usually mustard greens, but also methi [fenugreek greens], spinach, broccoli, or, in this case, silverbeet. It can be prepared with meat, usually lamb or goat, or as a vegetarian dish as below, with paneer and mushrooms, which was inspired by Nadia Lim’s delicious preparation in the Christchurch Mail of 29th October 2015 [see also]. Paneer is a mild cheese not unlike Italian ricotta and is available in most Asian supermarkets. If not, middle eastern Halloumi is a very close approximation. If none of these are available, tofu works almost as well.


2 tsp curry powder [see below under Sauces, Dressings and Dips].

200g paneer cheese, cut into 1cm dice.

Salt to taste.

3-4 silver beet leaves, chopped, stalks removed.

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped.

1 2cm x 2cm knob ginger, peeled and chopped.

1 tblsp tomato paste.

½ cup cream.

½ cup cooking oil.

1 tsp mustard seed.

1 medium onion, peeled and diced.

2 tsp curry powder.

½ cup vegetable stock.

2 cups button mushrooms, sliced.

Juice of ½ a lemon.

¼ cup chopped coriander greens.


Dice the cheese and place in a small bowl. Toss in the curry powder and salt, ensuring that the pieces are as fully and as evenly covered as possible. Cover and set aside. Mix the silverbeet, garlic, ginger, tomato paste and cream in a bowl and zap to a paste with a kitchen wand. Cover and set aside.


Heat the oil in a sauté pan or wok and stir fry the cheese cubes for 2-3 minutes, tossing quickly until turning golden. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the mustard seed and fry until they pop, then add the onion to the pan and stir fry until soft. Add the second 2 teaspoons of curry powder and cook for another minute or so; if it starts to catch on the bottom of the pan, add a little of the vegetable stock to deglaze.

Add the mushrooms and stir fry until soft, adding a little more stock as required. Add the silverbeet mixture and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and cook for another 5 minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken, then add the cheese. Stir through until reheated and turn into a bowl. Garnish with the chopped coriander and serve immediately with rice and raita on the side.

Serves: 2.

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