International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Saag

Saag at an Indian market

(Indian spiced spinach)

Image Creative Commons by rizwanoola

4
Average: 4 (182 votes)

Saag, or palak, dishes are spiced purees of spinach or other greens common in northern India. They often contain additional ingredients such as potatoes, fresh cheese, chicken or chickpeas to make a more substantial dish.

Saag makes a tasty and nourishing meal when paired with chapati or naan.

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Oil or ghee -- 2 tablespoons
  • Onion, chopped -- 1
  • Garlic, minced -- 6 cloves
  • Gingerroot, minced -- 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander, ground -- 2 teaspoons
  • Turmeric -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cayenne pepper (optional) -- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon
  • Spinach, chopped -- 1 pound
  • Water -- 1 cup
  • Salt -- 1 teaspoon
  • Yogurt -- 1 cup
  • Cream (optional) -- 1/4 cup

Method

  1. Heat the oil or ghee in a large pot or saucepan over medium flame. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and spices and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the spinach, water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, allow to cool a bit. Then use a blender or food processor to puree in batches.
  4. Return the puree to the pot. Add a little water if necessary and simmer another 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in yogurt and return to brief simmer and immediately remove from heat. Stir in the optional cream, adjust seasoning and serve.

Variations

  • Saag, or Palak, Paneer (Spinach with fresh cheese): Add 1/2 pound of paneer, cut into cubes, after pureeing the spinach. You may substitute tofu for the paneer if you can't find paneer. Tofu is not an Indian ingredient, but it has a similar texture and flavor.
  • Jhinga Saag (Spinach with shrimp): Add 1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp after pureeing the spinach. Simmer until the shrimp is just cooked through, 3-4 minutes.
  • Chana Saag (Spinach with chickpeas): Add 1/2 pound cooked chickpeas after pureeing the spinach.
  • Saag Murgh (Spinach with chicken): Add 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes, after pureeing the spinach. Simmer just until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Saag Aloo (Spinach with potatoes): Add 1/2 pound cooked, cubed potatoes after pureeing the spinach.
  • You may use frozen or fresh spinach. Try substituting mustard or other greens.
  • A squeeze of lemon added at the end will brighten the flavor of this dish.

Comments

I topped it with a yogurt chili cilantro blend. Added a good mix, not really Indian, but hey...

This recipe is the closest I can find to the traditional punjabi saag that I eat at my gurdwara! Only thing is, I think the amount of salt is a typo - first time I made it, it was WAY too salty. So now I just add salt to taste at the end - and voila! Perfect Saag =)

I loved this recipe! I agree, it was a bit too salty, but other than that, this one's a keeper!

I used 1.5 lbs fresh turnip greens (stalks and all) instead of spinach and also added juice of 1/2 lemon to keep the greens bright just prior to blending - turned out very delicious and this recipe is a definite keeper. I used about 1.5 tsp of red chili pepper and skipped turmeric (it is a blood thinner, may interfere with medication). I also did not add the plain yogurt or cream at the end as it tasted perfect to me, but will try next time with yogurt.
I am planning to make another batch with a mix of mostly turnip greens, some spinach and some mustard greens.

Hi, can u tell me if you boil and then blend the both leaves and roots of the turnips.

thanks
Jassen

Nice dish, however, I would like to point out that saag and spinach are not the same thing.

Regards

Saag/sag can be a catch-all term for various green-leaved dishes.

Easy to make and it tastes good too.

I had some collard greens, so I used those instead of spinach. It worked out well, served along with dal, paratha, and rice.

This was really quick and easy to make. I added a can of rinsed chick peas. We will have this tonight with some crockpot Indian chicken, basmati rice, and nann bread. I bet the leftovers will be really good over rice for lunch tomorrow. I will definitely be making this again.

loved it! But, I didnt boil the saag for that long. I just blanched it. Otherwise, awesome recipe!!:))

I agree with the other comments about this being restaurant quality. Yum!
Next time I would use a little less water and a little less salt. I didn't have access to fresh ginger, so I used a little more than 1/8 tsp dried ground ginger. Also, I didn't have any yogurt so I stirred in cream cheese (thanks Liz!) at the end and that worked out great!

Hey !! what about corn flour in saag ?? isn't it part of recipe ?

used 1 tsp tumeric and 1/2 and 1/2 instead of yogurt and cream. added tofu cubes. really delicious, will definitely make it again. also highly anticancer.

Isn't this dish supposed to have Indian cheese or tofu? When I have this in the restaurant, I notice white chunks of cheese or tofu. A friend of mine, who was Indian, did tell me that this dish contained special Indiaan cheese. Or am I confusing this with another Indian dish of spinach pureee?

See the recipe variations. It's there.

Saag is made from mustard leaves and not spinach. Palak is spinach.

Not strictly true - saag can mean any kind of "greens", mustard greens are sarson ka saag, spinach greens are palak ka saag. Sarson is what most Punjabis mean when they say saag, but that isn't the actual meaning of the word (like the English word "corn" really just means "grain" but has come to mean only maize in America & many other places, to the extent that people think it's incorrect to use it as a more general term).

In countries where it is hard to find sarson, the saag is usually spinach. However, you do sometimes find dishes incorrectly called "sarson ka saag" which only contain spinach, usually by people who don't realise that sarson refers to a very specific type of greens. But it's perfectly correct to just call it saag!

This is a delicious dish!! Add 2 table spoons of tomato puree and a teaspoon of garam masala and it's even better. I threw in a can of chick peas towards the end to make saag channa!

I didn't follow this recipe exactly (I have a variation of it in an indian vegan cookbook) but I just wanted to share that I didn't have enough spinach, so I used a whole bunch of collard greens and leftover swiss chard along with 1 pkg of frozen spinach instead, and it's to die for.

Also, my cookbook says the same thing, about saag being a catch-all term for any type of greens. It tastes so delicious, I'm eating my lunch and it feels decadent, like I spent $15 on takeout... except that I didn't. Definitely would recommend this recipe!!

Also, I made this without oil, just added 1 cup of water to the greens when cooking - but I used 1 tbsp of ghee separately to roast chili peppers and cumin seeds before adding to the dish, but I could probably skip the oil completely next time and just use a bit of water. Can't really tell the difference.

The spices are way off. Need more of everything and missing basic ingredients like cayenne, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon

i made a mistake and used tablespoons of spices instead of teaspoons..... yet came out fantastic i was well impressed that a fairly simple curry could taste so good, sadly i ate the whole thing in one sitting and theres none left for today!

I was actually thinking that I would add cumin seeds and a serrano pepper or two while sauteing the onion. I never measure out spices, so I would free style on this, too. I know what I'm going for flavor-wise.