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Saag (Indian style curried greens) Recipe  RSS feed

 
Roberta Wilkinson
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As requested by William Bronson in the Giant Kale thread.

I make no claims as to the authenticity of my recipe, but it's what I did with some of our copious kale harvest. Tastes good, and is pretty easy and forgiving if you want to mix up the seasonings or add other stuff to it.



I made liberal use of the immersion blender here, but you can use a grater or food processor on the aromatics, and a regular blender on the greens (or a potato masher if you don't mind a chunkier outcome).

4 tbsp butter
1 onion
6 cloves garlic
a piece of ginger root, peeled, about 1" long
2 tsp garam masala
dried chilies to taste
1 lb leafy greens with woody stems removed (the pound should be measured *after* stem removal)
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp salt (or so)
1 lb paneer or firm tofu or your cooked meat of choice

-Boil water in a large pot. Add the greens, and cover. Cook for 7-15 minutes, depending on the toughness of the greens in question. Don't worry too much about overcooking.
-While the greens are boiling, melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Grind together the onion, garlic, and ginger, and add to the hot pan. Cook, stirring regularly, until the paste starts to take on a golden brown color. Add the garam masala and chili, and cook for a few more minutes until the spices no longer smell raw. Turn off the burner.
-Strain the greens, reserving the cooking liquid. Return the greens to the cooking pot, turn the burner to low, and hit them with an immersion blender until the consistency looks good to you. I went with pretty smooth, but with a few chunkier bits of stem left. Stir in the onion paste, yogurt, and salt. Add back as much of the cooking liquid as is required to result in an agreeable consistency. Maybe add a tiny bit extra to allow for absorption by the protein cubes.
-Let the saag simmer, covered, over low heat while you quickly pan fry cubes of paneer or tofu or whatever. Add the protein bits to the saag and let simmer further, until you just can't wait anymore.
-Serve over seasoned basmati rice.
 
Alder Burns
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Currying like this is my default recipe for all manner of greens, including strong wild-foraged ones. I don't use a blender, but perhaps that would help the digestibility? I just chop them finely. The greens of a lot of things not normally used for greens are wonderful this way. Radish, for instance. The hairiness goes away on cooking, and the spices get along nicely with the strong flavor. And they will produce a crop of greens faster than just about anything else. Try any other brassica, including things like cauliflower and broccoli when their main yield is over, sweet potato greens, the young tips of squashes and gourds, really just about anything you know to be edible!
 
William Bronson
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Many thanks! I will be making this asap!
The great thing is, my wife prefers her saag sans protein, it's one of the few veg dishes she is wild for.
Alder, I grow tillage radishes,great idea for the greens.
 
Roberta Wilkinson
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Oh! I'll bet chopping finely works great too, and that's much lower tech. I'm just lazy and kind of in love with my immersion blender.
 
Anna Demb
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Don't forget the turmeric! We can get it fresh around here right now and shred it finely into just about anything, but this especially.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Deb Rebel
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Roberta Wilkinson,

I am in the market for a good immersion blender. What do you use and abuse, please?
 
Roberta Wilkinson
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Mine was a gift given several years ago, so I'm not certain of the exact model, but I think it's the 2005ish version of this: http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-CSB-79-200-watt-Immersion-Attachments/dp/B00AN9UJ68/

I lost the whisk, if I ever had one, but the little chopper thing is handy for jobs that don't merit the real food processor. I like that the head is steel - no fear of leaching plastic ick into hot food, and it doesn't hold onto stains or odors or anything.

Mine has developed a little wiggle in the attachment between the motor handle and the blender head. Not enough to impact performance, but I can foresee a day when they won't reliably click together anymore. Still, that time seems a while off, and 10 to 15 years seems like a pretty good run for a modern small kitchen appliance.
 
Deb Rebel
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Roberta Wilkinson wrote:Mine was a gift given several years ago, so I'm not certain of the exact model, but I think it's the 2005ish version of this: http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-CSB-79-200-watt-Immersion-Attachments/dp/B00AN9UJ68/

I lost the whisk, if I ever had one, but the little chopper thing is handy for jobs that don't merit the real food processor. I like that the head is steel - no fear of leaching plastic ick into hot food, and it doesn't hold onto stains or odors or anything.

Mine has developed a little wiggle in the attachment between the motor handle and the blender head. Not enough to impact performance, but I can foresee a day when they won't reliably click together anymore. Still, that time seems a while off, and 10 to 15 years seems like a pretty good run for a modern small kitchen appliance.


Thank you, I will look into that one. Having the right tools to make good food is important...
 
Julia Winter
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This is one of my favorite Indian foods, I'll have to try it with greens other than spinach! 
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Deb, did you find the right immersion blender yet?

I highly recommend Bamix blenders!  Got one for my daughter (22 birthday) when she lived in a dorm.  She got one for me about 4 years ago.  Great machine, Swiss made.
 
Deb Rebel
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:Deb, did you find the right immersion blender yet?

I highly recommend Bamix blenders!  Got one for my daughter (22 birthday) when she lived in a dorm.  She got one for me about 4 years ago.  Great machine, Swiss made.


Still pondering and saving pennies. Thank you for the recommendation.

I need an immersion, a heavy duty blender, a serious food processor, also.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I think the best possible heavy duty blender is the vita mix, and it has a price tag to match.  I use a cuisinart food processor.  It is a good machine, but had a repair adventure I would not like to repeat.  There is a place in Nebraska, "pleasant hill grain" that sells all kinds of food related appliances.  They sold me my cuisinart, and if I had contacted them directly, their warrantee would have covered me.  They also sell vitamix, and may sell bamix.  They are a great company and may be worth considering.  The bamix is the cheapest.  There used to be a place near Olympia Washington that imported bamix and they might have the cheapest prices available, but it's been awhile since I looked around so they may not be there any more.  Maybe it was in Lacey WA.
 
Deb Rebel
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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JCA7WW8/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=3H3DWCDJ0WH5S&coliid=I3P9BOZ22LE2MD is my dream. For $785, I definitely need a thick sock under the mattress. The Vitamix Professional Series 750 Brushed Stainless Steel 64 Ounce Blender Set with 32 Ounce Dry Container and Bonus 48 Ounce Wet Container. My spouse is rather 'frugal' and is going eeep, and I'm pitching the case for it. Maybe Santa can bring me one.... (heh)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005I6ZKCE/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=3H3DWCDJ0WH5S&coliid=I1HFS97HMM27TL&psc=1 ; the Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef Food Processor for about $400. Someone had several of the top end ones and said this one blew those away. Just saving pennies. I need something that will survive. I love decent accurate reviews, and if you read for awhile you get an idea on is something worth the $, and if it's not they often suggest something that is much better.

I'm afraid I abuse my Amazon Prime terribly as they deliver to my door. Out here this is a true blessing. I will check out Pleasant Hill Grain though, always need to keep looking for new sources for foodstuffs and other things. Thank you.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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If nothing else, the pleasant hill site will give an opportunity for comparison shopping.  Amazon has a pretty good return policy too, which is important in online shopping.

Have you considered getting a used Vita mix?  The engines are practically indestructible, and there was an era when the cannister was stainless steel instead of the current plastic, and they had a spout for serving, too.  If price is prohibitive, it might mean the difference in years between now and when your vitamix.  If the time came that you could get the one you really want, and the price seems worth it, you could sell the interim one, or keep it for weird jobs.
 
Deb Rebel
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:If nothing else, the pleasant hill site will give an opportunity for comparison shopping.  Amazon has a pretty good return policy too, which is important in online shopping.

Have you considered getting a used Vita mix?  The engines are practically indestructible, and there was an era when the cannister was stainless steel instead of the current plastic, and they had a spout for serving, too.  If price is prohibitive, it might mean the difference in years between now and when your vitamix.  If the time came that you could get the one you really want, and the price seems worth it, you could sell the interim one, or keep it for weird jobs.


Yes I have considered getting a used one. It is just that life never seems to give a breather so it will just have to be shoehorned into budget and take some time to get it to happen. Pleasant Hill is an interesting browse... thank you.
 
Destiny Hagest
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Okay, so I'm making this right now for dinner, and my kale crop this year has been particularly heavily assaulted by bugs. I rinsed everything, but I found a green caterpillar on my cutting board, and I just pulled one out of the big pot of greens I have steaming.

*dry heave*

You guys, I am entirely too much of a wuss to eat something that might possibly have bugs in it, but it smells so good! Dammit!
 
Roberta Wilkinson
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Oh, I have been there!  We had a plague of grain beetles in the pantry for a while, and though I would carefully rinse and pick through the rice before cooking with it while that was going on, every once in a while I'd find a single beetle floating in my cooking dinner.  Then, the debate: Was it just the one?  I already picked through carefully.  Could I bring myself to eat it on the chance that I'd missed more?  I'd usually make one more careful check through the dinner-in-progress and then eat it anyway.

I'm a big ninny about checking every nook and cranny of greens for aphids and bug eggs and things.  Manflesh isn't so picky, and I try really hard not to think about that when he cooks our breakfast greens. :X
 
Destiny Hagest
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Yep, I just can't do it. I confessed the caterpillar find to my husband, who promptly scooped some of the saag up with some naan. Me? I'm hiding out at my friend's house while he watches our toddler, eating potato chips and working
 
Deb Rebel
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Buggies are a part of life. I try not to cook any but once in a while you get the yeuuk. In fact today I was dining on a cashew thickened stew, and a large gnattie/mayfly took a death dive into it. I fished it out quickly and wiped that off the spoon then proceeded. This is the land of gnats in your beverage and flies sneaking into your straws so you can suck them out... and swallow them. (yeah gross and I live). You always check your drink.

Some places in the world people eat various bugs because they're there and high protein, a ready protein source. No I don't like the idea of stewing a caterpillar either, but if you didn't find half of it on the fork and your own toothmarks, just fish it out. I don't have bugs in my rice because I freeze it at 0f for at least a week, that kills everything. I also will do that to purchased dry eating beans.
 
Julia Winter
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No worries - you're going to puree it with the immersion blender, right?  

I remember when I was a kid, drinking delicious apple cider from a friend's orchard.  He always said:

"There's no worms in our apple cider!

Just worm juice."

 
Deb Rebel
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Julia Winter wrote:No worries - you're going to puree it with the immersion blender, right?  

I remember when I was a kid, drinking delicious apple cider from a friend's orchard.  He always said:

"There's no worms in our apple cider!

Just worm juice."



Worm juice adds trace minerals, vitamins, and protein. Totally world class top notch cider then!
 
Julia Winter
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It was the best apple cider ever.

My favorite was to leave it in the fridge until the (plastic) gallon container was puffy and tense.  Voila - self-carbonated (just a teeny bit alcoholic) less sweet apple cider.  The. Absolute. Best.
 
Destiny Hagest
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That's the part that sicked me out the most actually - pureeing all of that with the immersion blender. I could just picture a little caterpillar I might have missed getting whirred into creamy caterpillar goo in my food - eeerrp yuck :/

I know it makes no good sense, and that it's just a bug, but oh my god, can't do it. Nope nope nope.

Bring on the snakes, lizards, rodents, bats - but bugs skeeve me out so bad.
 
Deb Rebel
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Amen, Destiny.

Trying not to think of the added protein, and just being eagle eyed and OCD on sorting through my greens. Hence a lot of times my salads are 'browse my own in the garden' so I can check each piece as I nibble/scarf. I'm sure I've eaten a few.

I'd rather have the homegrown ones on my non-gmo, non-chemicaled, non-pesticided foods than some of the commercial stuff. Do not read up on how some of your common foodstuffs are made and how many bug parts or rat droppings are allowed. I'll take the occasional greens hider any day.
 
Destiny Hagest
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That is so true Deb - it's alarming to think that my lackadaisical standards are actually higher than those that get paid to grow and harvest food, yipes.
 
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