Author Topic: Saag Bhaji - dry style  (Read 83370 times)

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Offline Salvador Dhali

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2012, 09:17 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 !.   :)

Glad you enjoyed it, Colin, and a good idea to separate the leaves first (especially when those balls have been squeezed down to the density of quark-gluon plasma).

There should be some moistness to the dish - the 'dry style' is more of a nod to the lack of base gravy - but I've found that even when you think you've squeezed those balls as hard as you can, if you let them rest for a minute then have another go, it's surprising how much you can get out.

That said, I think some BIRs get this dish super dry simply through the chef's skill in manipulating high heat without instantaneously carbonising the contents of the pan. It's not easy, that's for sure. (I once had a go at some wok cooking on a commercial gas hob, which at the time seemed to have more in common with a jet engine on full afterburn. "When oil smoking put in garlic and ginger", the chef told me. Approximately 0.1 picoseconds later the garlic and ginger had metamorphosed into tiny pieces of what looked like anthracite.)

Anyway, enough of that. Do let us know how you get on with the all-purpose seasoning.

Cheers

Gary

Offline Salvador Dhali

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2012, 01:49 PM »
I am not convinced about not adding mix powder though, in order to replicate my local's flavour. 


Forgot to report back on this, CH. I knocked one up using a level tsp of mix powder (and a half tsp of turmeric) and it was superb.

A definite improvement, and I shall be making it like this from now on, so many thanks for the suggestion.


Offline curryhell

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2012, 06:12 PM »
I am not convinced about not adding mix powder though, in order to replicate my local's flavour. 


Forgot to report back on this, CH. I knocked one up using a level tsp of mix powder (and a half tsp of turmeric) and it was superb.

A definite improvement, and I shall be making it like this from now on, so many thanks for the suggestion.
Glad it worked for you SD.  They're the proportions i use in my brinjal bhaji.  I think the take on this maybe the chef's own preference.  I certainly like a bit more going on than just turmeric, not that it isn't good but the mix powder just adds another layer of flavour. ;D

Offline colin grigson

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2012, 10:42 AM »
Hi all ,

 I, like SD, have tried adding the TSP of mixed spice ( CA's ) and 0.25 TSP of All Purpose Seasoning as well as 1 Tsp of Tomato Puree mixed with a little water .. I know the concept of the dish was to be dry and at the temperature my pan was at , the liquid was gone in seconds. I think it tastes better but I'm going to try the cassia bark too next time for even more flavour ... this is a regular side dish for us now so thanks to all that have contributed !!   :)


Offline Salvador Dhali

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2012, 11:38 AM »
Hi all ,

 I, like SD, have tried adding the TSP of mixed spice ( CA's ) and 0.25 TSP of All Purpose Seasoning as well as 1 Tsp of Tomato Puree mixed with a little water .. I know the concept of the dish was to be dry and at the temperature my pan was at , the liquid was gone in seconds. I think it tastes better but I'm going to try the cassia bark too next time for even more flavour ... this is a regular side dish for us now so thanks to all that have contributed !!   :)

Fantastic - and further proof that recipes are there to be experimented with and adapted.

Just a thought on the cassia bark...

I've never come across any in the saag bhajis I've had in BIRs (and I have had a lot over the last 30-odd years!).

That's not to say that some don't add a bit, but cassia bark is tough old stuff (I suppose it would be, what with it being bark), and takes a little time to release its flavours. If using it I'd suggest adding it to the hot oil first and giving it a good stir fry before adding the garlic and onions, etc.

As an afterthought, the only occasions that I've come across cassia bark in BIR dishes (apart from when I've been lucky enough to blag some of the staff curry), it's always been 'old'. By this I mean extremely well cooked, to the point where it's almost soft.

This would suggest that it's come from the stockpot, rather than added fresh to a dish.

Offline curryhell

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2012, 06:33 PM »
Hi all ,

 I, like SD, have tried adding the TSP of mixed spice ( CA's ) and 0.25 TSP of All Purpose Seasoning as well as 1 Tsp of Tomato Puree mixed with a little water .. I know the concept of the dish was to be dry and at the temperature my pan was at , the liquid was gone in seconds. I think it tastes better but I'm going to try the cassia bark too next time for even more flavour ... this is a regular side dish for us now so thanks to all that have contributed !!   :)

Fantastic - and further proof that recipes are there to be experimented with and adapted.

Just a thought on the cassia bark...

I've never come across any in the saag bhajis I've had in BIRs (and I have had a lot over the last 30-odd years!).

That's not to say that some don't add a bit, but cassia bark is tough old stuff (I suppose it would be, what with it being bark), and takes a little time to release its flavours. If using it I'd suggest adding it to the hot oil first and giving it a good stir fry before adding the garlic and onions, etc.

As an afterthought, the only occasions that I've come across cassia bark in BIR dishes (apart from when I've been lucky enough to blag some of the staff curry), it's always been 'old'. By this I mean extremely well cooked, to the point where it's almost soft.

This would suggest that it's come from the stockpot, rather than added fresh to a dish.
Glad to hear growing success is being had with this dish.  As for the addition of cassia, my experience when i found it in my saag bhaji was that it could have only been added when the frying of the onion and garlic occured (this i think  may be done in advance and then used when the dish is cooked), as there can be no stock involved in my local's dish.  The absence of moisture confirms that.  As for its affect, there is only  a subtle hint of it's presence, more aroma that actual taste.  I will get around to trying this dish, pre-frying the onions and garlic along with a bit of dalchini at some point  :D

Offline Unclefrank

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2012, 11:41 AM »
Not really a break through but i did add a good sprinkling (i added as i would with salt) of ground dried curry leaves when the spinach as lost most of its moisture, tasted then decided to add just a sprinkle before taking off the heat and given it a good stir and then served.


Offline Salvador Dhali

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2012, 02:53 PM »
If you'd like to see a BIR chef preparing this dish, check out the video that CBM posted earlier in this thread:

http://www.curry-recipes.co.uk/curry/index.php?topic=8196.0

As CBM says: "You will see how dark the chef allows the residue in the pan to get, this is deliberate on his part. He did it with all the side dishes that I saw him cook. Having tasted a couple of them I can see why. They weren't burnt but had a fantastic smoky taste to them."


Offline curryhell

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2012, 10:03 PM »
Well SD, i can finally close the book on this one after tonight - at long last.  I've finally managed to nigh on replicate my local's saag bhaji.  A virtually dry saag dish with an infused smokey garlic and onion flavour with a hint of curry spice in the background, with the occasional hit of cinnamon aroma.
I pre-cooked the spinnach as per the Viceroy Brasserie method but seasoned the oil with 2 x 3 inch bits of cassia bark first and left them in the whole time it was cooking.
I then followed your method but reduced the oil garlic and onions considerably as the spinnach had already gone through one cook.  Added the spice, fried/roasted it, in with the spinnach and then thrashed it round the pan for 3 -4 minutes until hot with a pinch of coriander halfway through.  Fabulous and job done  :P



The spinnach after the pre-cooking had just finished


A close up of the Viceroy Brasseries pre-cooked saag

« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 10:21 PM by curryhell »

Offline Salvador Dhali

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Re: Saag Bhaji - dry style
« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2012, 10:24 AM »
Brilliant stuff, CH - well chuffed for you. And many thanks for the update!

Really pleased you cracked this one, and it's testament to your 'never say die' attitude, which I'd say is the number one factor at achieving success in this (and, indeed, any other) game.

One of the main things this emphasises is that there is no big 'secret' to any of this. Whether it's a saag bhaji or a lamb vindaloo, it's all about putting a number of simple elements together skilfully. For us home chefs that often means it can take what seems like an eternity, but if we stick at it (and at it), as you do, then it's there for the taking!

 



 

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