5cupswashed and roughly chopped Kale leaves approx.
4cupswashed and roughly chopped Spinach approx.
1tablespoonmustard oil *
1tablespoonfreshly grated garlic *
2teaspoonfreshly grated ginger*
1/4cupfresh tomato puree
1cupfinely chopped onion.
2green chilies deseeded*
Pinchof hing/ asafoeteida
1 /2teaspoonturmeric powder
2tablespoonlightly roasted yellow corn flour/ cornmeal / makki ka atta
¼cupwater or more if needed.
Salt to taste
Fresh Lemon juice to taste
1cuppan fried cubed firm tofu *
1cupboiled chickpeas *
Let's start with the blanching method.
In a big cooking pot bring 3 cups water to boil. Add in salt , few drops of lemon juice .
To the boiling water slowly add in the kale and spinach little by little in batches , pressing it in by back of the spoon.
Once the greens are added to the pot , let it steam for 2 minutes until wilted.
Meantime prepare a second bowl with 2 cups of water and 8-9 ice cubes. This is done for cold water bath .
With a slotted spoon transfer all the wilted greens in the cold water bowl. This will help the greens retain color.
In a heavy bottom non stick pan , heat up the oil and ghee.
Once warm ,add in cumin and hing .
Now add in chopped onions, bay leaf , some salt sprinkle and let it sweat for 2-3 minutes until translucent .
Now add in the ginger garlic paste and cook it for a minute.
Add in the tomato puree , some more salt and all the spices mentioned except sugar.
Let it cook for 2-3 minutes on low heat .
Meantime drain greens from cool water and transfer them to a blender. Pulse the wilted greens alongwith the green chilies to form a coarse paste. You may puree it completely according to your preference.
Now add the mixture to the pan , stirring continuously as it may splutter.
Cover the pan halfway and let the saag cook for 2 minutes .
Add corn flour to the water to make a smooth paste. Slowly add it into the pan stirring well .
Let it cook for 2 more minutes.
Add some water if needed to adjust the consistency .
Taste test and add sugar if needed.
Now add in the chickpeas and tofu or any desired veggies.
Add in a good squeeze of lemon juice .
Serve warm with a side of roti or rice.
You can top the saag with a dollop of butter too just before serving :)
Use green chilies as per your spice level.
Possible substitutes or additions-
If vegan , sub ghee with oil or vegan butter as well.
Sub yellow corn flour with 2 tablespoon whole wheat or roasted gram flour or ¼ cup boiled and pureed channa dal / split yellow gram lentil.
You can sub store bought ginger garlic paste for fresh.
You can serve saag as is or add in tofu , chickpea , paneer , potatoes or medley of mixed veggies .
Helpful tips to make the best Kale Saag -
You do not need a lot of water to steam/boil. The greens will wilt within seconds , hence you can keep on adding the greens in the pot by pressing it down.If you do not have a slotted spoon ,you may even drain water in a strainer .Cool water bath help preserve the green color and avoid saag to turn brown.I have added a bit of sugar as kale is tad bitter.Mustard oil imparts excellent flavor close to sarsoon ka saag , sub it with regular vegetable oil or butter if needed.I like to roast yellow corn flour before adding as it gives a nutty flavor to the saag but you can use as is.