There used to be a restaurant in Hoboken called “India on the Hudson” that served some exquisite food. I went several times and could never order anything but the chana saag. It has the most incredible flavors and textures, like nothing else I’ve ever had. I’m no connosieur of Indian cuisine – my wife’s father rips on me for loving the “yellow and orange stuff” at Indian places. But I challenge you to find a yellow or orange colored dish at a good Indian restaurant that isn’t delicious. This dish is neither yellow nor orange but delicious nonetheless. When you factor in that I recently won the Indian spice giveaway at Spiceaholic, I had no choice but to try my hand at this dish. I couldn’t decide between straight chana (chickpeas) or chicken (chicken) saag, so I went with both. Verdict: the chickpeas are much better so I recommend using only chickpeas for a full-blown chana saag.


1.5 lbs fresh spinach or other greens
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2T minced ginger or ginger paste
4t ground coriander
1t turmeric
1.5t garam masala
1/2t cayenne pepper
1/2t crushed red pepper flakes
3t salt
1 (15oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes (or another 15oz can chickpeas)
1T olive or canola oil
1 cup nonfat greek yogurt


1. If using chicken, cook separately in a separate pan with just salt and pepper and place aside. Otherwise skip this step (the more chickpeas the better).

2. Preheat a large pot over medium-high heat. Pour in the oil, add the onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger, coriander, turmeric, garam masale, cayenne, red pepper flakes and salt and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook the spinach until it has cooked down.

3. At this point, let the mixture cool slightly and transfer to a food processor or blender and process until mostly pureed, but not entirely. You can do it in two batches to make it easier. Transfer back to the pot, add the yogurt and chickpeas (and chicken, if using). Stir and heat until well incorporated. Serve over multigrain rice with a side of naan (recipe pending).

Filed in Gluten Free, Main Course, Peanut Butterless, Vegetarian

11 Responses / Leave a comment »

  1. Looks awesome!! I have most of those ingredients…maybe i’ll try it!

  2. Heather says:

    sigh. i love indian food. looks delish!

  3. Utz says:

    seems pretty similar to what I did tonight, except minus the poultry and strained coconut milk was used in place of the yoghurt

    • Nick says:

      Interesting, why strained coconut milk though? To keep out the chunks? I assume this was a veganized version? What about using a plain soy yogurt to give the thick, creamy consistency?

      • Utz says:

        I’m not vegetarian, I just use coconut milk because I think that yoghurt that’s not home made full fat tastes awful and coconut milk is 50 cents a can :). The high temperature from the moisture and chickpeas usually make the coconut milk creamy, but I use a lot of the stuff with it.

  4. Sagan says:

    God I love Indian food.

    This looks perfect.

  5. Julia says:

    I would love to try that dish but can’t cook it at home. My daughter doesn’t like chickpeas and any red pepper flakes in a dish incite a “I’m not eating tht because of the spicyness”
    It does look very appealing to me though. I am always ready to try a new ethnic dish. I was introduced to oriental food at an early age by my Korean aunt who joined the family in the very early days of the Vietnam War when she married my aunt.

    • Nick says:

      I generally dislike chickpeas but when they’re hot and especially in this dish, the consistency is much better than cold. Maybe you could try white beans or butter beans (my fav). Other options would be to use all chicken, lamb or even tofu. You could also try the “paneer” version which uses cubes of cheese. I suggest you try it in some form, even if there are no chickpeas/meat involved.

      Oriental food is another cuisine I don’t cook much of. I thoroughly enjoy Japanese food but consider it a treat and usually only eat it at a restaurant. Other than stir-fry I rarely dabble in this realm, but I should give it a try.

  6. Marianne says:

    Ooooh, chana saag? Sounds like a good dish. I’ve had saah with other meats, and chana masala, but never chana saag. I’ll have to give that a try one of these days.

  7. Shannon says:

    Mmm, one of my favorites! although i haven’t made it at home… yet :)

  8. Rose-Anne says:

    Indian food is the best! Of all the Asian cuisines I’ve tried, it’s my favorite. That’s awesome that you are branching out to try cooking Indian food at home. I make a matter paneer with tofu instead of paneer and it’s quite tasty. If you are looking to bump up the protein in your Indian food, tofu instead of paneer (although not authentic) works really well because it absorbs all those delicious spices.

    Happy cooking!

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