Friday, February 11, 2011

Saag Channa

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Megan, why are you posting pictures of ugly food again?" But hear me out on this one, please. I once saw an ex order a version of this when we ate Indian food for dinner. I saw a gloop of spinach puree (and this was back when I hated spinach), filled with cubes of curd cheese (I will ALWAYS hate each and every cheese, vegan or not) and wanted to throw up. Can anyone think of anything more disgusting? And then all of a sudden, I was faced with greens that needed using, a stomach that needed filling, and a strange craving for some spice. Uh-oh. This was about to get serious.

Now, I'm kicking myself that this has taken me so long. Usually I'm pretty reasonable, and I come around to things relatively quickly. (Me, stubborn? Never!) But when I made this, and hesitantly tried a spoonful, I realised that I've been an idiot for the last 8 years. I'm sorry, tastebuds, that you've been deprived. My version was made with a mix of spinach and kale, a hefty sprinkling of spices, just enough chilli to have my lips tingling, and freshly-cooked chickpeas. Served over quinoa, a comfort food if ever there was one (creamy? check. grainy? check. Bases covered.) this was an amazing dinner, and an eye-opening experience. Saag, I'm sorry that I ignored you for so long. I promise to make it up to you in future... even if you are ugly.

Saag Channa

1 head kale or 1 huge bunch spinach (or a mix!) finely chopped
2 large spring onions (or 1 small onion), finely chopped
1x 4cm piece ginger, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp chilli puree (sambal oelek is fine!)
400g tin chickpeas (or 1 & 1/2 cups home-cooked; not sure what that is dry, sorry!)
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander seed powder
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot sautee garlic, ginger, onion, chilli, and spices in a tiny splash of oil, until fragrant. The garlic and onion should be transparent. Add the greens, and mix well, allowing the greens to wilt evenly.
As soon as the greens are wilted, transfer the entire mix to your blender. Blend carefully - remember that this is hot, and accordingly, I always remove the plastic insert in the lid of our blender, so that it won't explode with the steam pressure. You want the mix to be as smooth as humanly possible.
Return the mix to your pot and add the chickpeas. Season to taste with salt and pepper, allowing it just long enough to warm the chickpeas. Best served over grains; basmati rice or quinoa are my recommendations.

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