Green Goddess: Homemade Indian Saag

Music Pairing: Bach, Cello Suite in C Major, Prelude

Story

Our love of Indian food was developed together, back in the late 90s.  We continue to evolve our tastes and preferences with this genre and are learning new tricks and ideas all the time.  In the coming weeks, we will share several stories that embrace that love.  While Aaron appreciates the chicken masalas and curries, both of us share a love for many of the vegetarian offerings.  The saag was one we fell in love with together, while expecting our youngest, Amani.  You will note that our saag recipe is vegan: neither of us loves ghee nor the addition of cream or other heavy soluble fats.  We normally even keep yoghurt to a complete minimum, and here, we eliminate it altogether.  One of the constant cravings while expecting Amani was Indian food: we frequented the local Indian restaurants almost on a weekly basis and we both became fascinated with the saag.  Our first recipe tried at home was likely in 2006.  Naturally, we explored variations on the theme since and came up with this version, which we share frequently with friends.  We pair this with Bach’s beloved Cello Suites: one of Aaron’s all-time favorite collections, it is also a composer we share as one of our mutual favorites.  Beyond that, both of our boys entered the world hearing Bach…we hope you enjoy the serenity of the sounds and tastes with this one.

Recipe

  • 4 T olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed
  • 2 teaspoons of garam masala
  • 1 green chili pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 1 pound of fresh mustard greens or arugula
  • 1 pound chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Optional for garnish: sautéed onion and garlic
  • Juice of half of a large lemon

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, adding cumin seed, chili pepper, garlic, and turmeric until beautifully fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.  Set aside.
  2. Get your food processor nice and ready to chop all of the greens.  Do it in stages If your machine is on the smaller size, or all at once if it is rather large.
  3. Place a medium sauce pan onto the flame and start heating on low.  Gradually add all the greens, while stirring.  You will notice that they will begin to change in color and become more tender.
  4. Stir in the cumin, coriander, and salt and that entire spice mixture you started with in the beginning.
  5. Cover; reduce heat and simmer until greens are quite tender, about 10 minutes, adding water as needed to keep the greens moist.
  6. Squeeze the juice and decorate your saag:)
  7. Serve alone or with a nice basmati rice!

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