Sunday, April 26, 2009

Chana Saag



Pune
being the educational capital of India, everyone had in their friend’s circle a group of out station students who had come to for a better education, especially during their college years. Of course choosing my group of friends to hang out with proved that no amount of education can improve poor judgment. Most of my out station friends were as good in the kitchen as Maninder Singh in his early years with the bat. On the positive side, you’d always have a group ready to go on a culinary adventure. Although, these kids mostly had their list of staples they’d visit and order the same thing day after day. On Deccan Gymnkhana, behind Karachi Sweet Mart and a few waves short of being immersed in the Mutha river, there was restaurant by the name on Purab. A basically non-descript restaurant that served Punjabi as well as South Indian foods. Purab was a favourite of one of my friends and he had a standard order—Paneer Bhurji with 3 rotis. I remember sitting across the table and watch him eat the same week for weeks at a time. Enough to make you never want to eat it again, but that never affected him. Purab had the standard Punjabi menu. Although I avoided most things with Palak in it, the waiter once mistakenly brought me Chana Saag instead of plain Chana. And much to my surprise it was not only edible, but quite delicious, too. Ever since, I have used Chana Saag to help me get my much-needed serving of greens.

Ingredients
1 can Chickpeas (cooked)
2 bags Baby Spinach
1 large Onion finely chopped
2 tsp Tomato paste
1 tsp Garlic paste
1/2 tsp grated Ginger
1/2 cup heavy Cream
5 Green Chilies chopped
1 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Garam Masala
2 tbsp chopped Coriander
Salt to taste
3 tbsp Cooking Oil

In a pot heat the oil on medium heat and add garlic, ginger and chilies and stir
As they start to splatter, add onions and stir and allow it to cook till golden brown on the edges
Add tomato paste and coriander and allow it to cook for a couple of minutes
Add turmeric and garam masala and mix it thoroughly
Add spinach, stir, reduce heat and place lid on the pot
Keep stirring occasionally even after spinach has reduced completely
Remove from heat and allow it to cool
Once cool blend the cooked spinach with heavy cream
Pour it back into the pot and add chickpeas
Allow it to simmer for 20 min on medium heat with the lid on
Serve with bread