Indian cuisine is very diverse and is often a good choice for vegetarians and vegans. This recipe is not complicated to make even though the list of spices may seem extensive. Still, it is always good to have them in the pantry. This saag recipe is a simplified version of the traditional recipe, however it has an exotic and tasty flavor. This dish is very nutritious and provides a good amount of vegetable protein.
The word chana means chickpea, and saag means spinach which forms the main component of the sauce, hence the name. A traditional technique is to temper the cumin grains and fennel seeds so that they release all their flavor in the oil. Otherwise, you can use already cooked chickpeas from a jar, and frozen spinach. There is nothing wrong with using some shortcuts in order to save time and obtain the same results.
You can add more spinach than indicated in the recipe, which would give a more intense green color to the sauce. This is a matter of taste and what you have in the fridge or freezer at that moment. Another suggestion is that if you cannot find the garam masala spice, you can substitute it with a combination of spices that you can easily find.
The result is a creamy, healthy and nutritious chickpea curry. While the sauce is simmering you can prepare some rice to add to the curry.
400g jar chickpeas
200g frozen spinach
1 red/green chili pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon diced ginger
4tbs sunflower oil
2tsp cumin seeds
1tsp fennel seeds
1tsp garam masala (see tips)
1tsp curry powder
3tbsp fresh coriander leaves
200g of crushed tomato
300ml vegetable stock
1 medium potato
1. Chop the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli, ready to use.
2. In a saucepan heat the sunflower oil over high heat and add the cumin seeds and fennel seeds. Fry and let them sizzle for about 30 seconds so that they release all their aroma, being careful not to burn them.
3. Lower the heat to medium and add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Mix and sauté until cooked.
4. Add the turmeric, garam masala (see tips), and curry spices and mix well.
5. Add the crushed tomato and vegetable stock, and bring to a boil.
6. Wash the jarred chickpeas under the tap and add to the sauce.
7. Add the shredded spinach, which should be thawed.
8. Peel the potato and dice. Add, mix well, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.
9. When the sauce has thickened, season with salt and pepper to taste, always at the end of cooking.
10. Cook the rice to accompany while the sauce is cooking.ç, if desired.
If you cannot find the garam masala spice, you can always use a combination of ground coriander, black pepper, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg. These can be mixed and ground together or simply added as is.
A green or red chili pepper can be used. Green chili is more traditional in Indian food but a red chili adds good flavor - watch out for the seeds which are the spiciest part,