Author Topic: Saag Bhaji - dry style  (Read 83369 times)

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Offline jb

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2012, 07:14 PM »
Looks very nice to me,interesting to see no mix powder involved,just as Az cooked his.I do like a nice sag bhaji but often round here where I live they're invariably soggy and not very good.I did use the frozen briquettes once but made the big mistake of putting them in still frozen...not very good!!..I always see tinned spinach in my corner shop I wonder if anyone actually uses that stuff. 

Offline Salvador Dhali

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2012, 01:03 PM »
Looks very nice to me,interesting to see no mix powder involved,just as Az cooked his.I do like a nice sag bhaji but often round here where I live they're invariably soggy and not very good.I did use the frozen briquettes once but made the big mistake of putting them in still frozen...not very good!!..I always see tinned spinach in my corner shop I wonder if anyone actually uses that stuff.

I've had a few too many sag bhajis and sag aloos from BIRs that used tinned spinach, JB, and the best I can say about it is that it's unpleasant but just about edible.

To be fair, the last time I came across it in a BIR was about 5 years ago. Most seem to have graduated to frozen, and some use fresh from time to time.

Being honest, in this particular dish I actually prefer frozen....
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 06:04 PM by Salvador Dhali »


Offline curryhell

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2012, 05:32 PM »
Looks very nice to me,interesting to see no mix powder involved,just as Az cooked his.I do like a nice sag bhaji but often round here where I live they're invariably soggy and not very good.I did use the frozen briquettes once but made the big mistake of putting them in still frozen...not very good!!..I always see tinned spinach in my corner shop I wonder if anyone actually uses that stuff.
Made the recipe below using a combination of fresh and spinach puree.  I was impressed with the taste and texture.  The two together worked very well and the end result was as good as the chicken sagwalla served at our local jb ;D

http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/curry/index.php?topic=3600.0

I thiink the puree is an acquired taste.  A local TA i used to use in Romford used spinach puree.  The texture of the finished dish is not great but i found the overall flavour quite acceptable.  Is that a thumbs down for the tinned leaf spinnach as well as the puree, not having used the stuff yet???

Offline Salvador Dhali

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2012, 06:10 PM »
@curryhell: Is that a thumbs down for the tinned leaf spinach as well as the puree?

Each to their own, but a it's a thumbs down from me.

From my own experience I don't think it's possible to produce a decent dry-style sag bhaji with anything other than fresh or frozen, and I've always had my best (BIR) results with the frozen.

But I'm always happy to be proved wrong! (Just don't tell the missus...  ;) )


Offline curryhell

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2012, 07:03 PM »
I agree SD that the only way of getting a dry saag bhaji will be to use either fresh or frozen.  But i would definitely not discount the puree from being used in spinach and meat dishes.
Have just come out of the kitchen and this is a pic of the end result



Verdict.  Made it to spec.  At the end of the cooking i added the tomato and a couple of tsps of fresh corriander. The only thing i did do was to add a stick of cassia for a bit while frying the onions as I happened a cross a lump the other week in my local's dish.  I always knew it was added but until then i didn't know how they did it.  Texture wise it was dryish and getting closer to what i am trying to achieve  :D.  I added loads of onion like yourself and as Az did at Zaal's. I gave the spinach a damn good squeeze and got more than 100ml of liquid out.  I then proceeded to give it a good chopping with a knife to give it even more of a chance to dry out during the cooking stage and to make sure it didn't clump together.
Taste wise,  I think i'll appreciate the flavour more later on as my mouth is just recovering from the removal of a rather iritating and angry back molar.  I an not convinced about not adding mix powder though, in order to replicate my local's flavour.  And i have some ideas on how to get it dryer still and getting some more flavour into the dish.  One thing i keep noticing in my attempts to replicate this dry dish is how chewy / stringy  the spinach is.  Another reason for giving it a good going over with the knife  ;D . Some people say you don't need to cook the frozen stuff.  The packets i have looked at say you do and so do some people ???.  What's your take on this?  This may remove the strong spinach flavour and make it a little more subtle.  It may also make it a little more tender and reduce the strigniness.  Being a regular maker of this dish, what do you think?

Offline Salvador Dhali

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2012, 08:07 PM »
I agree SD that the only way of getting a dry saag bhaji will be to use either fresh or frozen.  But i would definitely not discount the puree from being used in spinach and meat dishes.
Have just come out of the kitchen and this is a pic of the end result

Verdict.  Made it to spec.  At the end of the cooking i added the tomato and a couple of tsps of fresh corriander. The only thing i did do was to add a stick of cassia for a bit while frying the onions as I happened a cross a lump the other week in my local's dish.  I always knew it was added but until then i didn't know how they did it.  Texture wise it was dryish and getting closer to what i am trying to achieve  :D.  I added loads of onion like yourself and as Az did at Zaal's. I gave the spinach a damn good squeeze and got more than 100ml of liquid out.  I then proceeded to give it a good chopping with a knife to give it even more of a chance to dry out during the cooking stage and to make sure it didn't clump together.
Taste wise,  I think i'll appreciate the flavour more later on as my mouth is just recovering from the removal of a rather iritating and angry back molar.  I an not convinced about not adding mix powder though, in order to replicate my local's flavour.  And i have some ideas on how to get it dryer still and getting some more flavour into the dish.  One thing i keep noticing in my attempts to replicate this dry dish is how chewy / stringy  the spinach is.  Another reason for giving it a good going over with the knife  ;D . Some people say you don't need to cook the frozen stuff.  The packets i have looked at say you do and so do some people ???.  What's your take on this?  This may remove the strong spinach flavour and make it a little more subtle.  It may also make it a little more tender and reduce the strigniness.  Being a regular maker of this dish, what do you think?

Looking good there, Curryhell - and you're obviously more of an onion fiend than even I!  ;D

(Coincidentally enough, I made this tonight to accompany a meat and potato curry, and if I may say so, damn fine it was too.) 

It sounds as though we're (naturally) both aiming to replicate the same dish we get at our local BIRs, and these obviously differ. I've been in the kitchens of two local restaurants and watched my saag bhaji being cooked, and neither use mix powder or cassia bark - just ghee, garlic, onion, salt (lots) and turmeric. I'm going to give it a go with the mix powder and cassia though, as it will definitely add a different dimension. How much mix powder did you use? This dish (for me) is all about smokey, garlicky spinach though, so I'd personally go for no more than 0.5tsp of mix powder.

As for the frozen spinach needing cooking, well it gets more than enough cooking when you make the dish. The instructions on my packet (Tesco) just say for best results cook from frozen. (But then that's what it says on pretty much ALL packets of frozen veg, probably to comply with some H&S / food hygiene legislation?) This is fine - IF you want a plate of soggy spinach sitting in a 100ml pool of water. To get rid of this via reduction would take ages and result in an overcooked dish in which the garlic and onions have become stewed. So, following the BIR lead I defrost then squeeze the living daylights out of the spinach to get as much water out as possible, It's only when you do this that you can get the spinach dry enough to catch a little here and there to give a few charred edges, which again is what I get in the BIRs that do this dish the best, IMHO.

I can put my hand on my heart and say that I've never experienced any stringiness from the Tesco frozen spinach. It's always been nice and tender (but maybe I've been lucky).

Chuffed to hear your getting close to what you're after though.

Offline curryhell

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2012, 08:50 PM »
Looking good there, Curryhell - and you're obviously more of an onion fiend than even I!  ;D
You wouldn't think it would be difficult to do, would you.  I only used a medium onion but i believe this is essential to getting flavour into the spinach.
Quote
It sounds as though we're (naturally) both aiming to replicate the same dish we get at our local BIRs, and these obviously differ. I've been in the kitchens of two local restaurants and watched my saag bhaji being cooked, and neither use mix powder or cassia bark - just ghee, garlic, onion, salt (lots) and turmeric.
We are that.  Again this is another difficulty.  Obviously you're closer to achieving your goal than i am but what you have posted has got me closer than anything todate ;D
The local saag i am chasing has a slight cinnamon aroma with very little evidence of it in the taste of the dish.  You can imagine how delighted i was to fish out this lump of cassia the other night :D .  I stuck with the turmeric only tonight and i agree that the dish needs to have the smokey garlicky sweet oniony thing going on with a hint of spice in the background.  But in my case it's from mix powder not turmeric.

Quote
I'm going to give it a go with the mix powder and cassia though, as it will definitely add a different dimension. How much mix powder did you use? This dish (for me) is all about smokey, garlicky spinach though, so I'd personally go for no more than 0.5tsp of mix powder.
I don't intend to add more than a tsp max to achieve this as I don't want to overshadow the other flavours going on
Quote
As for the frozen spinach needing cooking, well it gets more than enough cooking when you make the dish. The instructions on my packet (Tesco) just say for best results cook from frozen. (But then that's what it says on pretty much ALL packets of frozen veg, probably to comply with some H&S / food hygiene legislation?) This is fine - IF you want a plate of soggy spinach sitting in a 100ml pool of water. To get rid of this via reduction would take ages and result in an overcooked dish in which the garlic and onions have become stewed. So, following the BIR lead I defrost then squeeze the living daylights out of the spinach to get as much water out as possible, It's only when you do this that you can get the spinach dry enough to catch a little here and there to give a few charred edges, which again is what I get in the BIRs that do this dish the best, IMHO.
Agree totally with the need to wring it dry ;D.  But next attempt will be to cook it first with the salt, let it cool and then ring it dry :D.  This should soften it, remove the overpowering taste that it can have and hopefully lead to better results
Quote
Chuffed to hear your getting close to what you're after though.
Thanks for posting this.  I will persevere with this and let you know how i get on.  I have a couple of ideas which i need to try out.  If all else fails i'll have to get into their kitchen and watch the experts ;D


Offline Unclefrank

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2012, 10:46 PM »
Hopefully be making this tomorrow for a few friends. Just wanted to suggest the frozen spinach from Farmfoods 1 GBP for a 750g bag. Used this in chicken saag and a saag aloo, with no complaints.

Offline Salvador Dhali

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2012, 02:17 PM »
Hopefully be making this tomorrow for a few friends. Just wanted to suggest the frozen spinach from Farmfoods 1 GBP for a 750g bag. Used this in chicken saag and a saag aloo, with no complaints.

Thanks for the tip-off, Unclefrank. There's a bargain to be had at Tesco right now, too. Their frozen spinach is normally 1.30 for a kilo bag, but is currently on offer for a pound: http://www.tesco.com/groceries/Product/Details/?id=260558996

I will persevere with this and let you know how i get on.  I have a couple of ideas which i need to try out.  If all else fails i'll have to get into their kitchen and watch the experts ;D

Looking forward to it, CH. I normally knock this dish up at least once a week, so will try the mix powder and cassia route next time (probably at the weekend) and file an update.


Offline colin grigson

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2012, 07:52 AM »
Thanks for this Gary ,

I've just cooked it now ( at 08.30 ... keen as mustard ! ) and it's very tasty and similar to BIR although not as dry still and I squeezed out loads of water ... what I would do next time is separate all the leaves because I chucked my squeezed balls ( fnaar fnarr ) in and whilst trying to break them down with the spoon the garlic and onion were catching a little more than I would risk usually ... apart from the salt content (needed as you say ) it's a very healthy dish and about the only way I would consider eating a bowl full of spinach ! I'm going to try 0.25 Tsp of All Purpose Seasoning at the end next time too ( only because I bought a bag and don't know what else to put it in ). It did look exactly the same as your picture by the way !.   :) 


 

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