Saag (Indian Spiced Spinach)

Mmmm, we love saag. Here’s an easy recipe that only takes about 30-45 minutes total to prepare.

Oil or ghee — 2 tablespoons
Onion, chopped — 1
Garlic, minced — 6 cloves
Gingerroot, minced — 1 tablespoon
Coriander, ground — 2 teaspoons
Turmeric — 1/2 teaspoon
Cayenne pepper (optional) — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon
Spinach, chopped — 1 pound
Water — 1 cup
Salt — 2 teaspoons
Yogurt — 1 cup
Cream (optional) — 1/4 cup

Heat the oil or ghee in a large pot or saucepan over medium flame. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and spices and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the spinach, water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

Remove from heat, allow to cool a bit. Then use a blender or food processor to puree in batches.
Return the puree to the pot. Add a little water if necessary and simmer another 5-10 minutes.
Stir in yogurt and return to brief simmer and immediately remove from heat. Stir in the optional cream, adjust seasoning and serve.

4-6 servings

Saag, or Palak, Paneer (Spinach with fresh cheese): add 1/2 pound of paneer, cut into cubes, after pureeing the spinach. You may substitute tofu for the paneer if you can’t find paneer. Tofu is not an Indian ingredient, but it has a similar texture and flavor.

Jhinga Saag (Spinach with shrimp): add 1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp after pureeing the spinach. Simmer until the shrimp is just cooked through, 3-4 minutes.

Chana Saag (Spinach with chickpeas): add 1/2 pound cooked chickpeas after pureeing the spinach.

Saag Murgh (Spinach with chicken): add 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes, after pureeing the spinach. Simmer just until the chicken is cooked through.

Saag Aloo (Spinach with potatoes): add 1/2 pound cooked, cubed potatoes after pureeing the spinach.

You may use frozen or fresh spinach. Try substituting mustard or other greens.
A squeeze of lemon added at the end will brighten the flavor of this dish.


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