Tonight - being a Saturday night - Ms.79 and I decided to cook a simple but delicious dinner for ourselves: simply saag. A simple, uncomplicated, wholesome and very fulfilling Punjabi dish that we try to make a tradition of cooking every Saturday morning - to eat on Saturday night. Wonderfully simple - very nutritious and extremely delicious! And here follows the recipe:
- 2 mediium-size finely chopped onions
- 3 tsp. turmeric
- 3 tsp. garam masala
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 2 tsp. salt
- chili pepper
- minced garlic
- piece of ginger
- 2 heaping tsp. cornmeal
- 300 g spinach
- 500 g spring greens
- Wash all the leaves in your kitchen sink - and then chop them up in batches into coarse ribbons on a chopping board.
- Dump the chopped-up leaves into a large-ish pan one-third full of boiling water on the stove.
- Boil the leaves for about 45 minutes on a semi-agressive simmer
- After about 45 mins of semi-agressive simmering - use a magi-mix blender to “zap” the mixture in 5 or six very-short bursts in order to break-down the coarse, stewing ribbons of leaf into more finely shredded bits:
- After another 20 minutes of simmering - give the mixture a good stir -
- Put two heaped dessert-spoons of maize-flour (polenta/cornmeal) into a glass and then add some water from the tap. Give it a good stir - ensuring that there are no lumps - and then add to the simmering saag mixture.
- Let it simmer for a few minutes - and then chop a generous knob of butter and add to the pot - stirring until melted.
- You will especially enjoy the fact that at this point - the saag is not simmering as such - instead large bubbles start to form just below the surface of the mixture - and erupt like mini-volcanoes - making a gloopy sound - and splattering your kitchen in a 2 metre radius around the pot. So make sure that you keep a lid handy - just haf-covering the pot so that some of the water evaporates and thickens the mixture.
- Simmer like this gently for another half-hour - stirring occasionally - and then turn off the heat after it has reached your desired consistency.
- Then get another small pot - put in a little oil - heat up and then add onions. Fry until the onions are slightly golden-brown.
- Then add the ginger, garlic and chillie. Stir-fry for a few minutes until the smell of it all spreads across the kitchen.
- Then add the spices to the browned onions: 2 teaspoons salt, 3 teaspoons turmeric, 3 teaspons garam masala, two teaspoons ground coriander. By now - the special aroma will be wafting its way out of your kitchen and into your garden - and from there - onwards into the kitchens of your next door neighbours. They will be envious.
- Then add the onion-spice mixture to the saag pot - and stir until well mixed:
- Then - when you are ready to eat - heat-up the completed saag until it’s just about to boil - serve into a bowl and accompany with either fresh roti - or naan bread (or pitta bread) and a fresh salad of chopped cucumber, halves of cherry tomato, chunky strips of carrot, halves of small radish, and chunkily-chopped red-Onion - all tossed in a few dashes of tangy vinegar. Simply delicious!
- If there’s any saag remaining in the pot - just put it away into a microwaveable container with a lid - and store in your fridge. It will keep for around 2 days. Just take out of fridge at any time and put container in microwave for a few minutes of reheat - stirring and reheating until piping hot. You can even store in freezer - and will keep for weeks like that. Just make sure you defrost for a few hours before attempting to reheat in microwave.
You could also try making “aloo saag” or “paneer saag” with the leftovers: in either case you simply get some cubes of Potato or paneer and fry them until golden brown - perhaps adding some more masala spice and salt to the frying cubes - and then stir them into the saag and serve piping hot.
Recipe by Route 79
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