Saag for Cheats and the Impatient

Le Sun 13 July 2014

A saag is a mild spinach curry that works really well with chicken, or potatoes, or paneer, or pumpkin ... or all of them together. What is described here in not an authentic curry. It gives the experience and enjoyment of eating a saag without having to do all the time consuming mucking about that authentic Indian cooking appears to need.

This is a saag-like curry that takes a fraction of the time of doing it properly. The shortness of preparation time probably means that all the goodness of the silverbeet is not destroyed either. In order to fully access the goodness in the silverbeet I often include something like chunks of pumpkin which have plenty of Vitamin C. Recently I have mixed kale in with the silverbeet to add Vitamin C as well as a heap of other goodness. This worked really well.

This recipe does not contain quantities so you will need to figure them for yourself. Oh all right then. It's something like this; a couple of onions, a couple of garlic cloves, two chillies, five or six good sized silverbeet leaves, and a teasoon or so of each spice will be enough for two adults. Add your chicken, goat, pumpkin, paneer, potatoes or whatever else to the saag once it is done and serve it on rice.

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Gather up all of the spices you intend to use. The most curry-like ones are; cumin, coriander, yellow and black mustard seeds, turmeric, etc.

Chuck them in a frying pan and dry fry them until they are kinda toasted. Remove them from the pan and grind them up.

Chop up the onions (garlic and chilli if desired) and fry until clear or beginning to brown or you get bored. Unlike an authentic curry the onions do not need to be fried for long. Add the silver beet stalks and fry a bit longer until they have softened a little.

Add the chopped silverbeet leaves and some water and cook through until the silver beet leaves are soft. Again this is not a long process. Be relatively sparing with the water....you're not aiming for silver beet soup.

An alternative method is to put the fried onions into a microwave proof bowl together with the silverbeet and microwave it all for about five or six minutes. Either way you end up with a bowl of cooked silverbeet, spices, and onions.

If it isn't already in a bowl, transfer it all to a deepish bowl for a stick blender or a food processor so that you can blend it all with the spices until it is a reasonably well chopped green mush. We prefer not to chop it so fine that it becomes a paste but that is purely a matter of preference.

Fry the meat/paneer/chickpeas/cooked potatoes in the pan recently vacated by the silverbeet an onion mix.

Add the green sludge to the meat / chickpeas / paneer /potatos or whatever else you want to have with your saag and heat it through. Add something like yogurt or sour cream to the mix in the final few minutes if you wish but this is not necessary. This just rounds out the flavour a bit.

That's it. From beginning to end takes about 25 minutes and is remarkably efficient on dishes.

Par Hamish Trolove, Cat├ęgorie : Food and Wine

Tags : Recipe /