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3 bunches or about 3 lbs of greens of your choice, mustard, kale, collard, spinach, etc. (I usually use 2 parts mustard to one part spinach)
1 (4-5 inch) piece of kombu seaweed, broken into small pieces (this adds a deep savory flavor and helps thicken the saag)
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Curcumade*
4 tsp Shabazi‡
3 Tbsp of butter or ghee
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp butter or ghee
1 quart prepared saag
A big handful of grated Swiss and/or Gruyere
Chopped cilantro and chives for garnish, or Shabazi
Wash and coarsely chop the greens, add them to a large pot or pressure cooker (or instant pot) along with one of the onions, the kombu, the salt, and the spices. Add about a cup of water (can be a bit more or less depending on how fresh your greens are). Pressure cook for 6 minutes with natural release, or cook on the stovetop for about 25 minutes (until everything is soft).
Puree the contents of the pot using an immersion blender (easier), or in batches in a regular blender (be careful of the steam unless your blender is vented). You can make it as fine or coarse as you like, I prefer mine a bit coarser.
Simmer the saag over low heat until thickened (about a half hour).
While the saag is simmering heat up the butter or ghee in a pan over medium high heat, if using butter cook until it browns a bit and stops bubbling. Add the chopped onion and cook until golden brown, then add the ground coriander and any other optional spices you like (see below) and cook until fragrant.
Mix the cooked onion and spices in with the saag and serve, or cool and store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, or freeze in a tightly sealed bag for up to 2 months, or use it to make:
Heat butter or ghee in a 10-12 inch skillet and sauté the tomatoes until they are soft and caramelized in spots. Add the saag and stir well to combine.
Make a divot for each egg with a spoon and gently crack an egg into each, keeping the yolk intact. Cover pan with a lid and simmer until whites are not quite set (about 4 minutes is a good time to start checking).
Cover with a thin layer of cheese and melt either under the broiler or with a blowtorch. This will also cook the eggs the last bit of the way while leaving the yolk soft.
Garnish with the fresh herbs or some more Shabazi and serve. Great with toasted sourdough, pita, or naan. A grating of nutmeg is excellent also.
* or a two inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped, a squeeze of lemon juice, and 1 tsp turmeric
‡ or a handful of chopped cilantro, three chopped fresh green chilies, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, and 4 cloves of minced fresh garlic
• Try adding any of the following to the saag:
• The saag is a great base for making other meals. I love adding paneer (a classic), or cubes of seasoned tofu or sautéed mushrooms plus crispy onions, or chunks of braised lamb and pomegranate arils, or spiced chickpeas. Feel free to mix and match too.
• You can cook fish fillets instead of eggs using the shakshuka prep above. Timing is similar to eggs if you like rare fillets, it's easy to poke them and check as you progress. I like to top them with a squeeze of fresh lemon instead of melted cheese. If you'd prefer to go the cheese route try substituting a dozen fresh oysters for the fish fillets for a spicy take on Oysters Rockefeller.
• I've also enjoyed using the saag as a base in a casserole dish, adding rinsed salt cod, chopped potatoes, grated nutmeg, and cream, then topping with breadcrumbs and mozzarella before baking for a fun twist on bacalhau com natas.
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue
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