Desi saag with summer greens


We’ve been inundated with greens from our weekly CSA share: kale, spinach, collard greens, chard and all sorts of others that I can’t even pronounce. It’s been a bounty, although each portion cooks down to serve just about one person. So, in an effort to use it all up and create something that could last us a few days, I decided to try making a Desi saag of sorts. Saag is a curry of mustard greens that is cooked for a long time until the greens give away their bitterness and bite. The dish is creamy with the subtle flavor of greens perfuming it.

This is really the best such recipe I’ve found, and I encourage you to try it:

1. In 3 tbsp. grapeseed oil, toast 1 inch cinnamon, 3 cloves, 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, 3 curry leaves, 3 crushed cardamom pods and 1 serrano pepper (sliced with seeds removed) over a medium flame.

2. When you can smell the spices, add 2 medium chopped onions. Brown them slowly until they turn golden brown, about 30 minutes.

3. Add 1 tbsp. each crushed garlic and crushed ginger, as well as 2 tbsp. of ground cashews.

4. Add 4 tbsp. yogurt, mix thoroughly and add 2 medium chopped tomatoes. Cook until the oil separates from the curry, about 15 minutes.

5. Add about 4 cups of fresh greens (whichever you like). Also add 1/4 tsp. cumin powder, 1/4 tsp. black powder and, optionally, 1 lb. of cubed chicken breast. Cook for at least 15 more minutes, until greens are tender and any added meat is fully cooked.

Serve with rice or some sort of roti/naan (whole-wheat tortillas work great).

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