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
1.5t garam masala
1/2t cayenne pepper
1/2t crushed red pepper flakes
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).