Frugal Saag Curry

Wonderful warming saag paneer, made with green leafy vegetables.

When the weather is warmer, sometimes my garden runs away from me. Yes, I mean it takes off! Not now though. I’m having to adjust to not being able to pick bowls and bowls of greens out of my garden at the moment. It’s been cold. My garden feels it.

I’m making the summer veges stretch though. A while ago when I failed to keep up with my garden and ended up with green leafy veges that are just a little too tough and stringy for stir-frying, I cooked them down, pureed them, and froze them. They are perfect for making saag curry, which is perfect for the cold weather we’re having right now. They also make a very quick wholesome meal!

Saag curry is most commonly made with spinach (palak), but “saag” really means “green” in Hindi. So any green leafy vege will do. And since they’ll be pureed, leaves that are a little tough and stringy would still do! What’s more frugal than saving veges from the compost, aye?!

What you’ll need:

  • 300g or so of a good bunch of green leafy vege
  • 300g of some chopped tomatoes (feel free to adjust the amount to your taste)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, mashed or sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of dried ground coriander or 3 tablespoons fresh
  • 1/2-1 teaspoons of ground chilli
  • 2-3 tablespoons of yogurt
  • salt to taste
  • 300g paneer or chicken pieces, or other meat you like (lamb and beef will need to be boiled for 15 minutes first) (I’ve also used button mushrooms in the past and it was also very nice.)

Follow these steps:

  1. In a pot that’s large enough to contain your green leafy veges, put the veges in and heat with a lid without any oil or water to “sweat” them and cook them down. This should only take 5 minutes.
  2. Put the vege into your food processor or blender, add a little water (100ml or so just so your food processor would not complain) and puree well. You can then freeze this  for later use.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of oil on medium heat in a frying pan and fry the onions, garlic, ginger and bayleaves until the onions appear translucent.
  4. Add the pureed vege, stir and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and everything else except yogurt. Add some water if you’d like it thinner. Also add salt to taste, about a teaspoon or so. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add paneer, meat or mushrooms and simmer in the sauce until tender, about 5 minutes for paneer or mushrooms, 15 minutes for meat.
  7. Turn the heat off and stir in the yogurt.
  8. Serve with naan and rice.

I know a lot of you who check in on me are enjoying the warm weather right now. Hope this recipe will help you making good use of the warmth, and change the fate of some of your green veges from being composted. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Frugal Saag Curry

  1. Sadly I have no garden and ergo no compost… BUT leafy greens are everywhere in the Market at the moment since it’s summer here and this looks like a fabulous recipe!

    Question: if you sweat down the spinach for 5 minutes in a pot with no oil or water at all, doesn’t it burn? (or is the water you washed the leaves in enough, and does it become a more soupy mass as it wilts down?)

    • Yeah the water on the leaves and their moisture stop them burning. They should sweat down well before they burn anyway. It may not take as long as 5 mins depending on your stove. It doesn’t go soupy until you blend it.

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