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Where the HELL can I find some decent saag paneer in this town?

Please pardon my cursing, but every curry joint I try produces truly a repulsive version that resembles nothing so much as microwavable creamed spinach like what you can buy in the frozen section of Western Beef.

I like my saag very dark, glistening with ghee and reeking of cardamom.

I'm not after some mythical, sublime or superlative preparation, but I have standards!!

I'm sorry I sound so angry. I've had a bad food day.

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  1. Go to curry hill. 27th and lex -ish area. A few good spots there. Chenai Garden... whatever - here are a list of restaurants: http://events.nytimes.com/2005/09/04/...

    1 Reply
    1. re: kissy28c

      I go there for dosas and stuff, but isn't saag paneer more of a North Indian dish?

    2. TOO VAGUE! Spices aside, saag paneer preparations differ wildly in the ratio of spinach to cheese and oil, and overall texture. You need to set a baseline. What do you think of some popular places' preparations of the dish: Tiffin Wallah, Whole Foods Union Square, Chola, Dawat, etc.? How can anyone recommend something if we don't know what you've already tried!

      4 Replies
      1. re: jakew8

        true, it's good to have some references of other places the OP has tried, but the OP did give a reasonably evocative description of his/her ideal saag paneer...

        personally, i don't like my saag paneer very buttery, so a ghee-laden version wouldn't do it for me, and i actually find the canola-oil Whole Foods Union Sq version ok in a pinch (though not spicy enough)...i've cooked saag paneer myself many times and use olive oil, onions, and huge amounts of turmeric...

        When i went to Chola years ago, i found the food both too rich and not spicy enough...it was like they merely used an extra stick of butter per dish to justify the high prices...

        the OP might want to try the taxi stands on First St, near Ave A...i remember having some yummy saag paneer from there once...

        1. re: Simon

          (Shhh... I also like Whole Foods' the most.)

          I've had excellent saag from Punjabi (one of the taxi stands you referenced) but since it's vegan, there's no paneer.

          1. re: jakew8

            nor ghee I assume, it's a butter variant.

          2. re: Simon

            Your homecooked version sounds pretty good. The turmeric-heavy quality is nice; when I eat good saag paneer, I expect my lips to be yellow afterward.

        2. You must make the trek to Spicy Mina in Queens. Hands down the best Saag Paneer I've ever had. Made fresh, the spinach is cooked perfectly (not a sludge of mush) with great homemade cheese and yes, glistening w/ ghee. Please try it and report back!

          http://www.spicymina.com/

          2 Replies
          1. re: potluck

            I love Spicy Mina's palak paneer -- the best I've ever had. I generally wasn't too fond of the dish because all I've had was dark sludge. But Spicy Mina's version is a revelation.

            Have you been there recently? I've seen a couple of recent blog entries for palak paneer and the dish looks different. They used to sear chunks of paneer, but now it seems that they crumble it into the dish.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              I third the fact that Spicy Mina makes the best Saag Paneer I've ever had in here or abroad. I didn't even know I liked the dish til I had it there.

              But that said, I haven't been recently...

          2. Saag is a bit vague. A real desi houshold would be specific - i.e paalak (spinach) or methi (fenugreek) are the two common daily greens.... Having said that, you are unlikely to find fresh cooked stuff at the run-of-the-mill take out indian.

            Dawat and Whole Foods Columbus Circle hot steam table.....

            1. thanks for the replies. To clarify, I guess I have been scouring, as anil puts it, "run-of-the-mill take out Indian" places looking for what I reiterate should be *decent* (as opposed to sublime or nasty) saag paneer. Everything I've tried recently is reprehensible. There used to be a Pakastani joint across the street from where I work in the Financial District that wasn't even a particularly good take-out venue (e.g., they served the worst samosas in the history of the world) yet produced a reliable and tasty saag paneer. Alas, that place closed years ago, and I've been looking for a substitute.

              This substitute wouldn't have to be across the street from where I work, but hopefully it wouldn't be as fancy as Chola nor as far as Spicy Mina (btw, I'll be going there for the first time next Thursday, but even if I decide to order the palak paneer, there's no way I can make it my regular spot). Whole Foods might be more my speed; I'll check it out.

              Please keep the suggestions coming.