Saag is a very simple recipe that is made in countless different ways.
It requires no tempering of spices.
The dominant flavours are ginger, garlic and green chilli.
Saag can be made with any leafy green vegetable, or mix thereof. I use rapini.
My saag is more of a home-style saag.
Restaurant saag is often overloaded with cream and butter to mask the fact that the greens aren’t fresh. Cream and ghee are the traditional garnishes for saag, but they should be used in moderation.
As a general hater of cream, though, I don’t like the stuff in my saag at all. In saag, I find that cream dulls the other flavours. I prefer the dollop of ghee only.
1 bunch rapini, chopped fine
1 ½ tbsp minced garlic
1 ½ tbsp minced ginger
4-6 green chillies (serano or Thai bird’s eye), stems removed and slit
1 ¼ tbsp turmeric powder
2 medium plum tomatoes, chopped fine, or equivalent canned crushed tomatoes
1 large yellow cooking onion, finely chopped
Ghee for cooking
Cilantro for garnishing
Fresh ginger julienne for garnishing
Water as needed
Caramelize the onion, in ghee, in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or dutch oven.
Add ginger and garlic and sauté over medium heat until the raw smell disappears and the garlic begins to brown. I know it sounds crazy, but in Indian food the garlic is browned.
Add the turmeric and stir to coat the onion mixture.
Add the tomatoes and a bit of water, if needs be, to prevent sticking. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to break down.
Add the rapini and chillies. Mix well, cover and cook, stirring occasionally and adding tiny bits of water as necessary for 25 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool 2-3 minutes. Whip out your immersion blender and puree until smooth.
You can add a few tablespoons of cream at this point, if desired.
Serve hot, garnished with a dollop of ghee, lots of cilantro and fresh ginger julienne.
**add browned, cubed paneer and that tiny bit of cream for saag paneer