I know it doesn't look like anything spectacular, probably doesn't even sound remotely interesting to most of you. But if you have had the spinach based Indan curry “saag,” then you know it is worth gathering up a few more spices to create at home. I personally think saag is amazing, the flavors are well balanced, the texture is so creamy and what a nutritional punch! This recipe makes just less than 4 cups of curry. I, myself eat a full cup. That is ½ a pound of spinach!
A lot of foods I can create a recipe by just tasting them, not this one. The first time I had saag I didn't even know there was spinach in it! When I haven't got a clue I turn to allrecipes and recipezaar to get the low down on ingredients and techniques. I like these sites because they have a lot of varations of the same dish. Also, the recipes are rated with stars by people who have tried them along with reviews of how they may have changed the recipe to make it suit them. I take ideas from this one and that one, subsitute some of my healthy oils, sweeteners and whole grains and try it out.
Where do you go for recipes when you haven't got a clue?
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 bay leaves
6 cardamom pods
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, ground
1 teaspoon coriander seed, ground
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more for heat)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound meat, cubed (chicken thighs, beef, lamb, venison)
½ cup plain whole milk yogurt
2 pounds fresh spinach, chopped (or frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed)
¼ teaspoon garam masala
Heat oil in a large pot or pressure cooker on medium-high. Place bay leaves, cardamom pods and onions in the pan, fry for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cloves, cumin, coriander, salt, black and cayenne pepper, stir well. Then add the meat and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly incorporated the yogurt and add spinach handfuls at a time. Stir until spinach is completely wilted. Cover and simmer for 1 hour or pressure on high for 20 minutes, natural release. Remove lid and add the garam masala. Turn the heat to medium. Stir and cook another 5 minutes until most of the water in the spinach disappears and you have a thick, green sauce. Remove the whole spices (you may not be able to find all the cardamom pods which is okay, but at least remove the bay leaves) and serve with brown basmati rice and *garlic naan. To make this dish vegetarian-ish use less meat, paneer, or cubed red potatoes.
*For garlic naan I roll out 3 ounces of pizza dough, real thin. Then cook the dough on a 450 degree skillet and brush it with garlic oil. Not exactly naan but pretty darn good!