Author Topic: Saag Bhaji - dry style  (Read 65528 times)

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Offline Salvador Dhali

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Saag Bhaji - dry style
« on: February 20, 2012, 04:07 PM »
I mentioned in the 'Just Joined' section that one of my favourite dishes is saag bhaji, cooked in the simple, dry style (i.e. no base gravy/garabi). I was asked to post a picture, so here it is, along with a couple more to show just how much liquid you need to get out of that frozen spinach to make this dish work. (You can of course use fresh spinach, but this will naturally result in a wetter end result unless you pre-wilt the spinach and then squeeze moisture out).

Keen observers may note the large amount of onions (and garlic) in my dish. This is simply because I appear to be a largely allium based life-form, and is just the way I like it. Similarly, the reddish tinge to the onions comes from the addition of chilli powder (deggi mirch in this instance). This isn't added in restaurants' saag bhaji unless you ask for it, but I seem unable to create anything without adding chilli to it.

Making it couldn't be easier, so without further ado...

For a good portion you'll need the following:

1. Around 5 briquettes of frozen spinach, defrosted. This needs to be thoroughly squeezed of excess liquid (you'll be surprised at how much liquid comes out). It's key to the success of this dish.

2. 3-4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (or to taste). To add an 'edge' to your BIR cookery, I recommend the use of an unguarded mandolin to make swift work of this task. You can thinly slice 4 cloves of garlic in about 12 seconds (though it may take slightly longer to pick out the slices of finely sliced finger...).

3. Using the same mandolin with the remaining uninjured hand, deftly slice half of a medium sized onion (a bit smaller than a tennis ball in size). Or again throw caution to the wind and use the whole onion. I know I do.

4. 0.5 tsp of salt (or to taste). As with tarka dhal, salt is a critical component of this dish, and getting the amount right is something that is very much down to personal taste. Most restaurants serve it fairly salty, and that's my preference.

5. 05 - 1 tsp turmeric. Another key component, and one which lends a subtle but wonderful taste and aroma to the dish (as well as a lovely aroma to your kitchen)

Method

1. Ingredients neatly arranged and fingers bandaged, take a black iron or carbon steel pan or wok and whack it on the heat. (Because this is a dry dish you need something that has a little non stick quality when the going gets hot. You can use an aluminium pan, but it's bloody hard work keeping everything going without adding loads of oil.

2. Add a generous chef's spoon of oil or ghee (my chef's spoon is a 2tbsp size, and I use butter ghee for this, but veg would be fine, as would veg oil), and get it to the point where it begins to smoke slightly.

3. Add your garlic and finger slices, and get straight in there with your spoon to keep them moving. You're looking for some nice colour but no carbonisation (at this stage).

4. Nice colour achieved, it's in with the onion next, followed swiftly by the salt and turmeric. The onions will have brought the pan temp down a little, so you may need to whack it up to get that gorgeous smokey 'singe' going. (See the 'Cooking with Chef Az' thread for more on this.)

5. Add the spinach and vigorously integrate it with the other ingredients with your spoon. Because the spinach has little moisture content this stage doesn't take long, but you're looking to get the spinach and the odd bit of onion and garlic to catch here and there (which is where a lot of this dish's great flavour comes from), so let the mixture sit in the pan or wok for the odd ten secs or so from time to time. It all depends on the pan, the heat of your hob, etc., etc., but as always it's only down to practice and after trying it a few times you'll have it nailed.

They really don't come much simpler than this...
« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 02:32 PM by Salvador Dhali »
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Offline Salvador Dhali

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2012, 04:09 PM »
Hmmm... Don't seem to be able to post even tiny picture files. Keep getting "The upload folder is full. Please try a smaller file and/or contact an administrator."

Will try again later...

Cheers

Gary
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Offline solarsplace

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2012, 04:14 PM »
Hi Gary

Very nicely written recipe and instructions. Thanks for posting!

Did you use the image host here? - http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/imagehost/

Thanks

Offline Ian S.

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2012, 04:33 PM »
Thanks for posting this, Gary. It's a good read.  :) I'll definitely try it but I'm going nowhere near an open mandoline. I've seen the Rick Stein video clip ...  :o

Looking forward to seeing the pictures. You do need to use the image hosting site linked to by Solarsplace, as the old onboard system is defunct now.

I know what you mean about getting the moisture out of the frozen spinach. I used a potato masher to really squeeze the water out last time I tried making a Saag Bhaji. Then I probably spoiled it by adding a splash of curry base and a squirt of lemon juice.

Cheers

Ian
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Offline Salvador Dhali

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2012, 05:00 PM »
Hi Gary

Very nicely written recipe and instructions. Thanks for posting!

Did you use the image host here? - http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/imagehost/

Thanks

Thanks for the heads-up (one of those increasingly frequent 'doh!' moments). Will try again...
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Offline Salvador Dhali

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2012, 05:02 PM »
I mentioned in the 'Just Joined' section that one of my favourite dishes is saag bhaji, cooked in the simple, dry style (i.e. no base gravy/garabi). I was asked to post a picture, so here it is, along with a couple more to show just how much liquid you need to get out of that frozen spinach to make this dish work. (You can of course use fresh spinach, but this will naturally result in a wetter end result unless you pre-wilt the spinach and then squeeze moisture out).

Keen observers may note the large amount of onions (and garlic) in my dish. This is simply because I appear to be a largely allium based life-form, and is just the way I like it. Similarly, the reddish tinge to the onions comes from the addition of chilli powder (deggi mirch in this instance). This isn't added in restaurants' saag bhaji unless you ask for it, but I seem unable to create anything without adding chilli to it.

Making it couldn't be easier, so without further ado...

For a good portion you'll need the following:

1. Around 5 briquettes of frozen spinach, defrosted. This needs to be thoroughly squeezed of excess liquid (you'll be surprised at how much liquid comes out). It's key to the success of this dish.

2. 3-4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (or to taste). To add an 'edge' to your BIR cookery, I recommend the use of an unguarded mandolin to make swift work of this task. You can thinly slice 4 cloves of garlic in about 12 seconds (though it may take slightly longer to pick out the slices of finely sliced finger...).

3. Using the same mandolin with the remaining uninjured hand, deftly slice half of a medium sized onion (a bit smaller than a tennis ball in size). Or again throw caution to the wind and use the whole onion. I know I do.

4. 0.5 tsp of salt (or to taste). As with tarka dhal, salt is a critical component of this dish, and getting the amount right is something that is very much down to personal taste. Most restaurants serve it fairly salty, and that's my preference.

5. 05 - 1 tsp turmeric. Another key component, and one which lends a subtle but wonderful taste and aroma to the dish (as well as a lovely aroma to your kitchen)

Method

1. Ingredients neatly arranged and fingers bandaged, take a black iron or carbon steel pan or wok and whack it on the heat. (Because this is a dry dish you need something that has a little non stick quality when the going gets hot. You can use an aluminium pan, but it's bloody hard work keeping everything going without adding loads of oil.

2. Add a generous chef's spoon of oil or ghee (my chef's spoon is a 2tbsp size, and I use butter ghee for this, but veg would be fine, as would veg oil), and get it to the point where it begins to smoke slightly.

3. Add your garlic and finger slices, and get straight in there with your spoon to keep them moving. You're looking for some nice colour but no carbonisation (at this stage).

4. Nice colour achieved, it's in with the onion next, followed swiftly by the salt and turmeric. The onions will have brought the pan temp down a little, so you may need to whack it up to get that gorgeous smokey 'singe' going. (See the 'Cooking with Chef Az' thread for more on this.)

5. Add the spinach and vigorously integrate it with the other ingredients with your spoon. Because the spinach has little moisture content this stage doesn't take long, but you're looking to get the spinach and the odd bit of onion and garlic to catch here and there (which is where a lot of this dish's great flavour comes from), so let the mixture sit in the pan or wok for the odd ten secs or so from time to time. It all depends on the pan, the heat of your hob, etc., etc., but as always it's only down to practice and after trying it a few times you'll have it nailed.

They really don't come much simpler than this...

Okay... Here goes...





« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 02:33 PM by Salvador Dhali »
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Offline colin grigson

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2012, 05:24 PM »
I'm off to buy some frozen spinach tomorrow and give this a try on Friday night . It's always been my favourite side dish when cooked well and the photos look good so we'll see . I'll post back with my thoughts ....  ;)


Offline curryhell

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2012, 05:43 PM »
Don't know how i missed this one.  Thanks SD.  Will be giving this a go sometime very soon.  Will make a pleasant change from brinjal bhaji and it may help me get one step closer to replicating one of the best saags i've tasted from a local BIR ;D
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 05:54 PM by curryhell »
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Offline Salvador Dhali

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2012, 05:52 PM »
Get all that water squeezed out of the spinach and get the salt level just so and you really can't go wrong.

In common with my other restaurant side dish staple, tarka dhal, it's so delightfully simple that little can go awry.

I'd love to know how you both get on.

Cheers

Gary

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Offline curryhell

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2012, 06:00 PM »
I will make it to spec first and see how close it is to being dry.  I now have  a further couple of ideas to take that dryness a step further and would be keeping with BIR practice as seen in Az's kitchen ::).  The saag and saag aloo from one of my locals barely contains any moisture but so much flavour :P.  The key will be getting sweet savoury taste of the garlic and onions in to the spinach without adding moisture ???  I'll let you know how i get on ;)
So singe baby singe, the curry's getting better ..........


 

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