Monday, March 28, 2011


Ethnic food was unknown to me when I was growing up. My mother cooked meat/potato/vegetable meals... occasionally spaghetti, but rarely was a salad served. I ate my first Mexican food at Taco Bell when I was twenty-four, Chinese food... Indian food... Japanese... Thai... all came later. Finally I learned that Taco Bell is so NOT Mexican. I don't care. It was my first love and will always have a place in my heart. (and stomach.)

Now that I am a grownup, ethnic foods are my favorites. When I taste something delicious at a restaurant, I want to try it at home. Three of us rotate as supper cook on Sunday nights; yesterday was my turn, and I had a distinct hankering for Indian food. Specifically Saag.

Saag is chopped up spinach in some kind of mild spicy sauce, often paired with chicken or potatoes. Last night was guest night so the chicken was out... we do primarily vegetarian on guest nights, usually with meat on the side. So... the menu included chicken curry salad, vegetable vindaloo, coconut rice... and saag. I don't much care for aloo saag (the potato one) so I used chickpeas (saag chole).

I searched online and found exactly the recipe I wanted, but I was missing the correct spices. Would you believe you cannot find Garam Masala anywhere near here?!? I went to six grocery stores... no Garam Masala. So I made my own. (Not exactly authentic Garam Masala, but it was close... and worked.)

Then I got over confident and made Naan too. A disaster. It didn't puff up. It tasted okay but was really flat, tough and chewy. The apricot chutney was a hit, the vegetable vindaloo pretty decent... curried chicken salad... well chicken salad is chicken salad.

But the saag... was to die for. Okay so humility is not my strong suit. (It was to die for.)


S. B. Helm said...

you are so making me hungry! I have never eaten many Indian foods, but from your descriptions, I'll have to give them a try.

Chris said...

Such a delight to see your new blog posts and to read about the to-die-for saag (which I have never tasted, so now I must). May the warming weather nourish all seeds germinating in darkness!