a saag story

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, this one was a literal saaga, but well worth it in the end. Complications with the creation of this recipe include, but are not limited to:

  1. This is one stubborn HungryTexan, when she has her mind made up on what she wants to cook for dinner, she will go to great ends to make it happen. With my mind made up I braved Giant (gasp!), which I do everything I can to avoid on a normal Sunday, let alone Hurricane Sandy Sunday. While everyone else was stocking up on all their Frankenstorm supplies, this girl’s just trying to fetch ingredients for some Sunday Saag Paneer. After conservatively 35 minutes in line reading all of the Internet and exhausting all my coins in Scramble with Friends, I made it through checkout and all the way home just as it started to drizzle.
  2. Note: there was no buttermilk in all of the Giant.
  3. So you thought an absence of buttermilk was an inconvenience, yes, but did you know it would go on to be the “paneer” portion of this recipe’s kryptonite? Neither did I when I thought I could pull a clever few tablespoons of vinegar in cream substitution. May work in a pinch for pancakes, but paneer…no way. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to curdle my milk and my amateur-attempt at cheese mongering was for naught. I’ll try again, but that’s a story for another day and proper ingredients.

Once the stress from the shopping and mess from the mongering were behind me, I got started on the spinach and that, my friends was a relative breeze! For this HungryTexans-twist on a Cook’s Illustrated version you’ll need:

a bag of baby spinach

3 heaping handfuls of mixed greens (I used a mustard/turnip/kale mix)

3 tbl butter

onion (finely choped)

3 cloves of garlic

1 tbl fresh ginger (I used more!)

1 jalapeño

1 can diced tomatos

1/2 cup of peanuts

1 cup water

1 cup heavy cream with a tablespoon of vinegar

+ All of the spices! 




1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Here’s how you’ll do it:

  • Wilt your greens in the microwave (3 minutes for spinach & 4 for the heartier greens)
  • Put aside 1/3 of each type of green & then put the rest of both in your food processor, coarsely chop what you’ve kept aside
  • You’ll want to chop you’re jalapeño, onion, ginger, and garlic so it’s all ready for the next steps
  • Melt your butter and add all of the spices — cook for 30 seconds or so until the fragrances buzz!
  • Add your onion and simmer ’til it’s soft
  • I know you’re excited — add your garlic, ginger, and jalapeño — bam! bam! Get that mix all sorts of wonderful (3-5 minutes).
  • Add your can of diced tomatoes, and let that all groove for another 3-5 minutes — keep on stirring!
  • Now! Chill out and turn off your heat.
  • Take 1/2 the wonderful mixture in your skillet and dump it in the food processor with your pureed green, add your peanuts & a cup of water & slowly start to recognize something that begins to resemble the saag you know and love
  • Take the puree and pour it back into your skillet
  • Stir in the buttermilk & your chopped greens — and let it be happy in the skillet for another few minutes
  • s&p to taste

Serve over your favorite rice & continue to reheat until you’ve enjoyed every last bite!


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