Photo: Eoban Binder/WFIU
Our mantra at Earth Eats is “Local ingredients with global flavor,” and we’re going there again today with a recipe for saag. This dish of puréed greens is usually served over paneer, a fresh cheese popular in the cuisine of South Asia.
Most American restaurants use spinach as the base, but we’re using mizuna, a Japanese mustard green. Adding a bit of arugula and spinach will give the dish a nice balance since mizuna can have an strong flavor. My general rule for cooking with aggressively-flavored greens — add a touch of sweet, a touch of heat and a touch of fat.
This recipe calls for two pounds of greens, which may seem like a lot, but it will cook down to one quarter of that volume. And, be sure you cook the greens completely to a velvety texture — this is not one of those dishes where you want crispy, crunchy greens!
You can serve this finished dish two ways:
- Right out of the pan, complete with big pieces of greens
- Blend the cooked greens to a smooth sauce
Indian-Style Mustard Greens
- 2 pounds mustard greens, stemmed, or broccoli rabe, trimmed and chopped
- 1/2 pound cleaned spinach and arugula
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon toasted cumin
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
- One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 2 red onions, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- salt (to taste)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the mustard greens and cook for 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for 30 seconds. Drain the greens.
- In a medium-heat pan with oil, add the garlic, jalapeños, toasted cumin seeds and ginger to the pan. Add the onions and cook until lightly browned.
- Add the pureed greens and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle the cornmeal over the greens. Add heavy cream and combine. Serve when greens have completely wilted.
- Or, add cooked greens mixture to a food processor. Add an additional handful of spinach and a dash of water. Blender until smooth. Serve over paneer.