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Recipe by: Asha Loupy
Saag—often relegated to "spinach curry" outside of India—actually translates to "leafy vegetable." A beloved dish across northern and northeastern India—from Punjab down to Bangladesh—saag varies from region to region and household to household. Some bolstered with garam masala, others with cardamom, cumin and coriander. Some with tomatoes and some without. The non-negotiables are the holy trinity of onions, garlic and ginger, plus green chillies and, of course, lots of leafy greens! This version uses heartier greens like kale, spinach and mustard greens. The other integral ingredient to saag is ghee—the buttery, toastiness taming the intense greenery and lending a silky, luscious texture.
While it's not traditional, I like using a 3 tablespoons of ghee and 1 tablespoon of mustard seed oil in the saag base. Mustard seed oil—a Bengali kitchen staple (see Shaz & Kik's Creamy Mustard Fish)—has a bold, bright horseradish-like flavor that complements the deep, vegetal notes in the dark, leafy greens.