Why would I post yet another Indian Saag recipe when there are so, so many recipes already out there? Especially ones from Indians and and Indian cooks? My recipe was driven by these simple factors:
- Mainly my friends; I wanted to come up with a solid recipe that all my friends could trust, keep coming back to and even experiment from.
- I don’t like to use ghee if I don’t have to.
- I don’t like a lot of salt.
- I don’t like asafoetida. It’s is so very, very weird.
- I like fresh ingredients and I like simple, authentic cooking with a perfect blend of spices.
I cooked this Indian saag in the spirit of my friend from Thailand who taught me how to do this a couple times while staying with me. He should have a blog but he doesn’t so this is for and from him.
Ok, rarely do you go into a market looking for various pounds (lbs.) of mustard greens like some recipes state so I just go grab a “bunch” of mustard greens and the a “bunch” of spinach. That is generally how they are sold. Let’s not over-think this.
Authentic Saag Ingredients
- 2 bunches of greens; 1 bunch spinach + 1 bunch mustard greens
- 1 birds-eye chili pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt to taste
- 1 TBL clarified butter
- 2-3 TBL olive oil
- 1/4 cup left-over “greens” broth
- 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped or grated
- 1-in. ginger, grated
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 TBL chapati flour
- 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp. coriander
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
Indian Saag Method
Boil greens and chilies until softened about 5 min. I don’t cover the green. I want some of the oxalic acid to escape. Once soft and still bright green, puree immediately in a blender/CuisineArt with some of the cooking liquid. It should all just barely fit into a 9-CUP CuisineArt.
In another pot, heat the oil and clarified butter over medium-high heat and cook the onions until translucent. Add the ginger and garlic puree (also called adrak+lehsun in Hindi, Punjabi, etc.) and cook for 2 minutes. Grind all the spices, bloom in the onion saute and cook until oil separates. Return pureed greens to the pan and simmer about 15 minutes. You may need to add some of the reserved cooking liquid to loosen the greens if they are too thick. Finish with garam masala and the flour.
You have saag that you can add to roti, pita, naan, or your fingers. If it’s olive green, ya done messed up. The vibrant green is life. Aim for it.