By Chef Joey
When you think of Indian food, curry comes to mind, and many of my friends are quick to judge this genre of cuisine. Years ago I met someone who was visiting my house. I asked about different things and how they were made in her family – and like all cultures, there is an array of food, vegan and non-, and all use fresh herbs, especially cilantro.
I’ve had many fabulous Indian dishes in my life, and “SAAG” is my favorite. It’s made with spinach. You can have it vegan with tofu or paneer, or meat with lamb, or seafood with shrimp. There are several spices involved, and all are inexpensive, if you take a ride to your local Indian grocery store. They cost less than $2 each and last a while. You can make a meal for 8 people for less than $10 over and over again!
This is a bit lengthy for a regular meal but, besides the prep and the initial cooking time, it goes fast. The biggest item is the curry stock. You make this ahead of time and freeze it in 2-cup containers (Ziplock bags in bread pans that you freeze and make bricks with then stack them!). This broth is delicious on its own, but when you combine it with other things it is magical! You can add it to lentils, to fresh veggies for flavor or use as a veggie stock to cook other things, too.
♥️For the curry base you need the following:
8 large onions cut into quarters and pulled apart
8 cloves of peeled garlic
1 ½ tbsp fresh chopped ginger
1 ½ tbsp cumin powder
1 ½ tbsp coriander powder
1 ½ tsp turmeric
1 ½ tsp salt
15 cilantro stocks and leaved cleaned
12 cups of water
15 oz can of diced tomatoes
3 tbsp oil
Bring the water to a boil, add the onions that you break apart like petals.
Add all the ingredients, except the tomatoes and boil for an hour.
Then add the tomatoes and cook for 20 mins more.
Let the mixture cook and then blend everything together with an emersion blender – or use your blender in small batches. Don’t burn yourself!
This is the base for every Indian dish basically.
So to make the spinach dish you need to also have a ginger and garlic paste. This is great stuff in itself, and I use it to top fish all the time. It is basically the same amount of fresh garlic and fresh peeled ginger combined in a food processer – say 8 or 10 cloves of garlic – 1 tbsp salt and the equivalent in fresh peeled (peel with a teaspoon – magic and fast less waste) garlic. Add a few tablespoons of oil (6 or 7) and blend – put in a small resealable container. This will last for a couple weeks.
♥️For the Saag you will need the following, now that you have the base:
3 tbsp oil
1 small onion finely diced
3 or 4 tbsp diced cilantro
1 pound thawed frozen chopped spinach (this works best and is cheaper)
1 tbsp garlic paste
2 cups if the curry base
1 lemon juiced
Spice mix (1 tsp dried fenugreek, 1½ tsp garam masala, ½ tsp salt, 4 tbsp coriander, 2 tbsp cumin, 4 tbsp turmeric, 3 tbsp paprika, 2 tbsp curry powder, 1 tsp ground pepper)
Optional 1 tsp chili powder if you want spicy
Tofu, chic peas, shrimp, cooked lamb (boiled at least 1 hour in chicken broth then shredded into the spinach)
So this part goes fast – add the oil and the onions and cook until translucent – about 2 mins.
Add all the spices at once and stir fast.
Add the garlic ginger spread and stir until it starts to thicken – then add ladles of the curry base and stir until it thickens up.
P.S. Tomorrow is Super Tuesday! PLEASE VOTE FOR BERNIE! – R.T.😊🇺🇸