Vegetarian Saag Aloo
||3 Main, 6 Side Dish
||Total time: 45 minutes
Saag Aloo is a delicious spicy blend of spinach and chunky potatoes, and goes very well with parathas or naan. It is very easy and inexpensive to make, and will impress the heck out of your friends. Don't be put off by the volume of ingredients, the procedure is very short and simple.
1 can (16 oz) chopped Spinach, drained
1/2 lb (2 large-size) potatoes, cut in chunks
1-2 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
1 medium-sized onion, sliced into thin strips
2-3 Tbsp water
Spices & Flavourings:
6 whole black peppercorns, crushed coarsely
2 cloves of cardamom, crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin powder
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small matchsticks
1 fresh red chili, seeded and finely shredded.
(or pinch of chili powder)
blanched, slivered almonds, cashews
sliced mushrooms, added with the onions
for 'mughlai' taste, replace cumin powder (jeera) with fennel seeds (saunf)
Soak the potato chunks in a small bowl full of water until you need to use them.
Heat ghee/oil in the saucepan on medium-low heat. When oil is hot, reduce heat to low; add the crushed peppercorns, cardamom seeds and almonds/cashews and saute gently for 2-3 minutes.
Add the chili, ginger, onion and garlic to the saucepan and raise heat to medium. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring lightly to prevent browning or burning.
Stir in the spices and salt and mix well. Drain the potato chunks and add them (without the water). Stir vigorously as you turn the heat up, until potatoes are half baked and are covered thoroughly with the rest of the stuff. (you can add a little turmeric too at this point, though it isn't essential).
Reduce heat back to medium and add about 2 tablespoons of water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, stirring occassionally.
Gently stir in the spinach and simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add a small quantity of water if necessary. Don't add too much water. This is a moist dish, not a liquid one.
Cover it. Turn the heat off. It's done.
The intensity of heat you use to cook is crucial. When in doubt, be conservative and use low heat, it will just take a few more minutes, that's all. Adding too much water will ruin it.
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