Tag Archives: saag

The First 5+

In my pantry today:

  • 1.25 c frozen spinach
  • 1.25c blanched, chopped kale
  • 12 0z canned tomato sauce (plain)
  • 1 L yellow onion
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp fennel
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp chile de arbol powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • dash asafoetia

P1100258I had some major cupboard rearranging to do so I started the onions in oil with mustard seeds on ML and let them rest largely unattended for about 30m. Sprinkle on turmeric a few minutes in, mix. Turn stove to M an mix in pastes and other spices until a gummy mound forms; dispatch the mound with your spatula and a small dollop of tomato sauce. Add greens and let the food processor run for a couple of minutes; spoon it back into the pan and stir in the remainder of your tomato sauce. Heat and eat, or add paneer, meat or a meat substitute — I threw in some cooked chana dal (split chickpeas) and served it over Basmati rice. I ate this for lunch and again for dinner… and maybe I heated my dinner in a small Ikea skillet then ate it then licked the skillet. Don’t you judge me.

kaleI know that eating foods of color is the way to go, so I feel really good about not only the outstanding 5+ spoons of taste this delivers but also because the recipe is full of enough greens for me to want to add a +. Following the Wahls Diet is my goal, but still isn’t entirely possible — both financially (SNAP only delivers so much) and… because I am still a product of my fatty culture and will submit to its baser dietary desires.*

 

 

* Don’t you judge me.

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Saag’s the Way We Do It

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c ricotta cheese
  • 2 lbs turnip greens, washed stems cut
  • 3 c baby spinach/arugula blend, washed
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 c unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/4 c vegetable ghee
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp fenugreek
  • 1/2 tsp fennel
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
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vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, D, E, and K plus many more all-stars

This was worth the day’s adventure in making this from scratch recipe as “from scratch” as possible. I’d remark in a more witty and urbane fashion, but I admit that from this and from about thirty unrelated other things I am wiped out. For the first five hours of my day, however, I was on point.

saag4

don’t pa’sneer

Start first with the low rent paneer. Obviously, this is the one non-vegan aspect of the recipe. Preheat the oven to 350° and spread an even layer of ricotta cheese over a [I used an 8×8″ and the paneer was too thin so go with something a little smaller] baking dish and bake for 45-60m until the edges of the pan begin to brown. Let cool then slice into cubes or crumble into a topping.

carte blanching all 3lbs of 3 greens at once

Meanwhile your oil/ghee should be warming to ML. Add diced onions, garlic, mustard and cumin seeds. Let cook over ML heat until onions begin peeking translucent. While they’re warming up to the notion, trim and blanch your greens (well, boil them for about 10m if you don’t care for chewing your saag). Drain well and set aside. Turn heat up closer to M in the pan; when you hear a mustard seed or two crackle, add the ginger-garlic paste and other dry seasonings. Mix together until one gelatinous mass then add in the flour. Use the juice from the diced tomatoes if liquid is needed. Scrape all the seasonings off the bottom of the pan and mix until a paste-like consistency. 

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just prior to pasting

Add in the greens slowly, mixing all the while. Then plop the entire mix in your food processor, add milk and spin until the creaminess you desire is reached. Serve with paneer over Basmati rice. This is a 5 spoon dish of healthy delight (well, 4 if’n you count my too-thin paneer but let’s not do that) and was commemorated by having half its contents frozen for later revisitation.

The Poor Man’s Saag Masoor

In my pantry today:

  • 3/4 c cooked lentils
  • 1 14.5 oz can kale greens
  • 1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin

saagmasoorOk, so if you’ve read even 10% of my posts then you already know the fundamental aspects of how this dish was made… and I’m feeling especially lazy today so we’re all gonna trust each other. Important asides to note? Don’t drain your cans. Put the coriander/cumin in with your hot ghee/oil/onions/garlic and mix until pasty before adding the other stuff. This is a good way both to get your nutrients and to get rid of at least one can from the back of your cupboard. Cheap, easy and still 4 spoons!

 

Poor Man’s Saag Aloo (or, “Just Beet it”)

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c beet greens
  • 1 large baking potato
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp kala jeera
  • 1/2 large Vidalia onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 c water
  • 2 tbsp ground brown flax
  • 4 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon

Drink enough coffee and you too can be inspired to experiment with aplumb! Well, with beet greens… we don’t get actual plums from our CSA. I’ve never cooked with beets before, and had never even until recently been informed of the edible health contained in their greens. I bravely sallied forth having never cooked any type of greens before.

As with most good meals, start the marriage of oil and butter (vegetable ghee can be substituted for a vegan option) in a pan heating to ML. Once melted put in thinly sliced onion and garlic, mustard seeds and kala jeera. Let them simmer together for about 10m while you prepare your greens:

Thoroughly wash and dry the greens, then pick off bite size pieces from each leaf with a stout disregard for the stems. Set aside and turn your warm pan to M. Mix your water with flax, curry, cardamom, turmeric, asafoetida and cinnamon; once the mustard seeds begin popping stir in fistfuls of leaves until everything is coated and add the water mix. Bring to a boil on M then cover and let boil while you attend to the next step:

Peel your bigass potato and slice in 1/2″ rounds. Halve those rounds. Uncover the pan and add the undrained can of tomatoes; stir. Add the potatoes, ensuring everything is covered by liquid. Bring back to a boil then cover and let cook until the potatoes make you swoon with their delectable tenderness. This ended up being much more delicious than I’d even hoped and would have earned a glad 5 spoons if I didn’t feel like my work perfecting greens has only begun. So, because I need to keep my head in the game this can only earn 4 spoons.