Since 1919, a certain big-armed cartoon sailor has encouraged Americans to eat their spinach. After sampling Swagath Indian Cuisine’s Palak Paneer, I’m encouraging everyone to try this spinach-based dish.

It’s a rich green and it’s chock full of the cooked, leafy stuff. After one taste of the savory stuff, I knew I’d gladly order it again and again.

On Swagath’s menu, Palak Paneer is described as “cubes of homemade cheese in a spinach-based gravy and spices.” Paneer is an un-aged curd cheese made by curdling heated milk with a food acid. This restaurant, hidden behind Woody’s Oasis on Trowbridge Road, uses vinegar to make its delightfully chewy cubes. It’s a diced cheese that does not melt during cooking.

With a bit of investigation, I also found out that the “spices” include cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala, a spicy blend of aromatic Indian spices and chilies. The dish can be ordered mild, medium or hot. I tend to be a medium guy, but Swagath’s mild was plenty spicy for me.

The Palak Paneer arrives at your table in a bowl — no plate could contain the generous green gravy that buries the cheese cubes — and is served with balsamic rice, a seasoned white rice. (Mine came with a cinnamon stick hidden in the fluffy mound.) Mixing the two made for a satiating combination, as the rice calmed the spiciness of the Palak Paneer.

Someone more “manly” than I might not care about lots of spice in his spinach. Clearly, I am no Popeye.

Swagath Indian Cuisine

11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m. daily 1060 Trowbridge Road, Suite 3, East Lansing (517) 336-0700, swagathfoods.com

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