Saag

Indian mealThere are few things I like more than a good Indian meal, and one of my favorite curries is saag. When you get it in North America, it’s usually made with spinach, but it can be made with any green or mix of greens – and it’s a great way to use edible greens that typically end up in the bin, like those of sweet potatoes, radishes, carrots, beets and broccoli.

I made a small batch with carrot greens the other night, which I served with roasted carrots and red peppers, tandoori chicken, watermelon rind chutney and turmeric rice – a meal just overflowing with complex spices and aromas.

Carrot green saag (two small servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 2½ oz onion, diced
  • 1 poblano chili, seeded and diced
  • 1½ tsp grated ginger
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ tsp coriander
  • ⅛ tsp turmeric
  • 2½ oz carrot greens, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp yogurt (optional)
  • ⅛ tsp salt, or to taste
Directions
  • Sauté onions in oil over medium heat until they’re translucent.
  • Add in the chili, ginger, garlic, coriander and turmeric, and sauté until your kitchen smells good – about one minute.
  • Add in the carrot greens, and sauté for about 2 minutes.
  • Add enough water to cover the greens, and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, and let simmer until carrot greens are tender – about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, let cool (so you don’t blow the lid off of your blender with steam), and blend until homogenous.
  • Return to heat, and warm to serving temperature.
  • Stir in yogurt and salt.
I served roasted vegetables on top of this batch, but you can also stir in cooked potatoes, chicken, chickpeas, paneer (an Indian cheese) – or just about anything else.
Fun facts
Edible greens rescued from landfill per serving 1.25 oz
Number of servings needed to save 1 pound of edible greens from landfill 12.8
Cost of 1 pound of edible greens which would usually be tossed $0.00
Cost of spinach at yummy.com as of 1 minute ago $3.99 for 5 oz
Amount you can save by replacing 1 pound of baby spinach with free edible greens (assuming you shop at yummy.com) $12.77
Net impact on landfill if everyone in the US eats 1 pound of greens that would usually be tossed 155,000 short ton reduction
Total cost of that 155,000 short tons of green goodness $0.00
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6 thoughts on “Saag

  1. Hi Jean-François:

    I definitely have to make your version of saag — sounds sublime. Have been reluctantly pulling up my overwintered old greens (first time I’ve ever done that in Oklahoma,) and replanting my raised veggie gardens and I’m thinking my outgoing spinach will do well on this recipe. Changing my beds into square-foot gardening, just a fyi.

    Just have to procure a poblano on my next trip to the store and I’m ready to go.

    Otherwise my greens are going into my brand, spankin’, new 60-gallon compost bin I fought with last night until I finally got it assembled. You would have thought it was a child’s bicycle.

    Thanks for your blog. It’s so much fun!

    Carol

    • Thanks, Carol, and congrats on the new compost bin. Our worms seem to be practicing abstinence, so our vermicomposting has been slow out of the starting gate. Will have to get them some frisky friends when I get back from Singapore.

      Oh, and no need for poblano (it’s just what I had) – you can use any hot fresh pepper or cayenne to add a little heat.

  2. We recently did a big Indian cooking session….butter chicken, pork tikka, chana…chickpeas..I forget the real name…and one other…cauliflower. We used tarmarand for the first time, too. It was and is still very good. We froze the remaining portions into meals for 2. It’s wonderful to come home and warm up a homemade Indian meal.

    Thanks for your recipe above. We’ll give it a try!

    Deanna

    • Sounds like a nice little feast – definitely haven’t gotten the yen for Indian food out of my system – and I love tamarind; it adds a nice touch of sourness to curries.

  3. This sounds wonderful! I’m not a huge fan of beet greens, celery greens, etc but this looks much more enjoyable than a plain saute or gratin. Indian food might be the perfect modicum to get more in my diet! Thanks for the great idea.

    • Not sure about Chiba, but Tokyo has a few great Indian restaurants (the Raj Mahal was a favorite haunt – and there’s one near Hiro that rocks) which you can visit and get inspiration from.

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