My pursuits of the perfect Saag have taken me far and wide. I’ve tried many a recipe in my kitchen, some my own, some belonging to those far more well-versed in Indian cooking. My pursuits have brought forth this dish, reminiscent of the saag at my favorite Indian restaurant, but tweaked for my Brooklyn kitchen. Instead of spinach I used rainbow chard because it was local, fresh and calling to me with jewel-toned legs amidst the shrubbery of the produce aisle. Two bunches may look like a lot when you stick it in your cart, but chard (like every leafy green) cooks down to nothing. Ergo, buy more than you think you need.
- 2 bunches Rainbow Chard
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 inch Ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon Mustard Seed
- ½ tablespoon Amchur (or the pit of one mango)
- 3-5 Cardomom Pods (depending on your affinity for the scent)
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½ cup Coconut Milk
- Strip the leaves of chard from their jewel-toned stems. Reserve the stems for making veggie stock, we will not be using them in this recipe. Stack the leaves of chard and roll them into a fat, tight cigar. Slicing across the roll, cut the chard into strips. Set the ribbons aside.
- In a large stock pot or wok heat the oil over medium-high heat until rippling.
- Add the ginger and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until it is golden brown.
- Add the mustard seeds and amchur (or the mango pit) and immediately put a lid on the pot. The seeds will start to pop and without a lid your kitchen will be covered in tiny little black spots. I repeat, put a lid on it.
- When the popping dies down (after about a minute or two), open the lid and stuff the chard into the pot.
- Add the cardomom pods, salt and pepper and stir everything to combine.
- Continue to stir as the chard wilts and pour in the coconut milk.
- Put the lid back on the pot, drop the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the leaves are tender and the milk has thickened slightly.
- Eat it.