Now I know, this isn’t the prettiest dish you have ever seen, but it is mighty tasty and easy. You are forgiven for thinking that I just picked it up at the local Indian takeaway! But I can assure that I did cook it and have done on numerous occasions – but obviously I need to work on a better way to serve it for photography.
Saag, sometimes called saagwala, is a leaf-based South Asian dish and one of my favourites. It can be made with spinach as I have here, mustard or collard greens or just about any green you can think of.
As with all classic recipes there are many variations – some leave the leaves whole or just chop them, but I prefer the variation of puréeing the greens – one of the reasons it is not as attractive as it could be.
Any meat can be used for this dish and another popular saag dish is saag aloo or spinach with potato.
1 onion, sliced
1 bunch spinach, leaves chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
pinch dried chilli flakes
500g boneless lamb, cubed
1 cup chicken stock
¼ cup natural yogurt
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Place onion and a splash of oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until onion softens and starts to brown.
2 Meanwhile, steam or microwave spinach until tender, then purée.
2 Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander and chilli and cook, stirring for 30-60 seconds or until fragrant. Add stock and spinach puree, bring to simmering and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until lamb is tender.
3 Stir in yogurt and coriander and season with a good grind of salt and black pepper.
So tell me, do you cook a dish even if you know it isn’t going to win any prizes in the beauty stalks or is taste more important?
Where did the ingredients for this dish come from:
Lamb: Mad Butcher – Hastings; Onion, garlic, spinach: Krismaw Gardens – Hastings; Coriander: The Chef’s Garden @ Epicurean – Hastings; Yoghurt: Origin Earth – Havelock North; Store Cupboard Ingredients: oil, stock, ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, chilli flakes, salt, black pepper.
Note: Many of these producers can be found at the Napier Urban Food Market each Saturday morning and/or at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’
Market each Sunday morning.
Happy cooking and eating.
Recipe by Rachel Blackmore
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