Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I Heart Indian Food: Channa Saag

This recipe is actually a cheat. It's one for Saag Paneer (spinach with cheese), but at the time I made this dish, I didn't have paneer, the handmade Indian cheese on hand. However, I've been exploring the art of rehydrating dried beans as a way to lower sodium in my diet. Most canned beans (with the exception of Eden Foods organic no-salt added beans) contain a huge amount of sodium -- not good for folks with blood pressure issues or those of us trying to drop a few pounds.

So, I had beans on hand.

They took a while to rehydrate. I soaked them over night, drained the water, then cooked them in my dutch oven until they were al dente.

Then, I began the Channa Saag. This is very loosely based on the recipe for Saag Paneer at Indian Foods Co.

First, I pureed half of a pound of raw spinach with 1/2 cup of water in my food processor. I set the other half of the spinach aside for later.

While I was preparing the spinach, I drained three pounds of potatoes I had boiled earlier. Prior to boiling, I'd cut the potatoes into 1/2 in. cubes.

I don't typically skin my potatoes, simply because I like how the skin tastes (and John's not picky about it), but feel free to skin yours.

Next, in a large skillet, I heated 3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil with 1 tablespoon of chopped ginger. Then, I added 1/2 a vidalia onion coarsely chopped, stirring until the onion turned translucent.

Next, I added 1 teaspoon each of cumin, garam masala, coriander and turmeric. I also added 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I cooked the spices together for about 3 minutes, then added all the spinach, the beans and the potatoes to the skillet.

I simmered this for about 20 minutes, until the house smelled fantastic and John came home from work hungry.

We enjoyed it as it was the first night, but we decided to make it more like how we've received it in restaurants when it came to the leftovers. For those, I fished out the chunks of potatoes, then put the rest in the food processor to completely puree. Then, I lightly browned the potatoes in oil and garam masala for about 5 minutes before adding the pureed channa sag and cooking for about 15 minutes. It was far better the second time around. The next day, with leftover naan, it was even further improved. How it kept getting better with time is beyond me, but it was definitely something we'd make again.

Delicious and good for you!

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