I needed a quick dish for potluck on a night we were snowed in and didn’t have much in the fridge to cook with. I had rice, a bag of brussel sprout greens, fresh turmeric and tempeh so I decided to get creative. It’s good to know Palak Paneer is called Saag Paneer if you don’t have spinach!
Ingredients (4 servings)
1/4 lb tempeh *locally made from Blackspot*, cut in small cubes (the thinner the better)…of course they use cheese in real Saag curry but I imagine you can substitute with eggs or tofu as well.
1 pound of greens, stems chopped finely and leaves chopped coarsely (I only had brussel sprout greens but you can use just about any greens!)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 thumb size fresh turmeric, grated (can be substituted with 1 tsp turmeric powder but the fresh stuff is a totally different experience!)
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 inch size ginger, grated
2 Tbsp tomato sauce
1/8~1/4 cup water (add only if necessary, eg. spinach is very watery so you don’t need to add water but I needed to add water to brussel sprout leaves)
salt ( you will need to add more if you add more water)
a dash of white wine or cooking sake
Usually when I fry tempeh I marinate it in a tamari sauce overnight or put a batter on it. Since I was using the tempeh as a topping I figured I could get away with frying it as is, as long as I could fry it to a crisp. Be sure to get the oil nice and hot before you start frying and get even brown sides.
Making the Saag Curry
1. Saute onions and stems(works like celery!) on medium to low heat until the onions become translucent or for about 10 minutes.
2. Add the leaves and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and wine or sake (this is not for flavoring but to help the greens ‘sweat’ and ‘wilt’.) Cover and let it steam for 2-3 minutes.
3. Take off the lid and saute for 6-7 minutes. (Depending on your greens it can go a lot quicker.
4. Add all the spices and saute for another 5 minutes. This is where I add water if the consistency seems dry.
5. Cool it off and puree the whole thing using a blender or food processor. You may need to add more salt, water or tomato sauce at this time. The tomato sauce acts like a secret enhancer so be careful not to add too much.
6. Place in a bowl and sprinkle the tempeh toppings. Serve while warm with rice or nan!