Friday, April 13, 2012

Food is my Love Language - Chicken Saag Anyone?

If I ever cook for you, it is a pretty good indication that I sorta like you -- maybe even love you. When it comes to “love languages” it is certain that the language in which I am most fluent is “Acts of Service,” exemplified most often by the cooking of dinner or the baking of birthday cakes. This probably explains why I sometimes feel hurt when I see food left on a plate after dinner or hear the words “no, thanks” to dessert. I mean, if you offered someone a hug but that someone said, “no thanks” I’m sure you’d take it personally, too!

It is at this point that Jason takes a deep breath, reminds himself that patience is a virtue, and tells me that being full is, in fact, a legitimate reason to leave food on his plate or refuse dessert. If I had it my way, poor Jason would be morbidly obese but, by God, he would have a clean, happy plate!

I’m mostly kidding.

Here is a recipe for Chicken Saag [aka, Chicken w/ Spinach]. Saag was the first Indian food I remember consuming, and it is still my favorite. When we go out to eat, I order this with lamb. It is also delicious served with Paneer. This recipe is fairly spicy. If you don't dig the heat, use fewer jalapeños (and if you're not happy unless there's sweat on your brow, by all means, add more).

Happy plates only, please.

Chicken Saag
adapted from Anjum's New Indian by Anjum Anand

In a large skillet, heat:
4 tablespoons veggie oil

Once oil is hot, add:
3 brown cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3 green jalapeños, tops removed and pricked all over with a fork
1 large onion, finely diced

Reduce heat to medium and sauté until onions are tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes.

While the onions are cooking, place into a blender and puree:
1 1/2 piece of peeled ginger
12 cloves of garlic
28 ounce can whole tomatoes
(do not use the juices; squeeze each individual tomato over the sink to remove the seeds so that what's used is mostly the flesh of the tomato)

Once the onions are done cooking, reduce heat to medium-low and add the tomatoes and:
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons garam masala
6 small chicken thighs, trimmed

Let simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes, stirring every so often to prevent burning. Reduce heat if necessary.

Stir in:
12 ounces spinach, drained and finely chopped
Cook for 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Stir in:
4 tablespoons yoghurt or heavy cream
*optional* 2 tablespoons ghee

Serve with rice and garlic naan.

Eat up!

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