Friday, December 2, 2016

Indian Beef and Spinach Saagwala Curry

Saag Gosht is a tender and delicious Lamb and Spinach Curry that originates from the northwest region of India. A well-loved dish from the greater Punjab area of India and Pakistan, Punjabi cuisine is known for its diversity, and varies regionally by the agriculture and farming lifestyle that's been prevalent throughout the area for centuries, with many of the ingredients obtained fresh from the fields. 'Saag' typically refers to mustard greens and 'Gosht' tends to mean goat meat, however beef works equally well, although many in India do not eat beef, so this recipe is an adaptation of the classic Saag Gosht recipe. Browned with onions, an aromatic mixture of whole and ground spices, chopped ginger, garlic, tomato and masses of healthy spinach, the beef is slowly simmered for up to 2 hours then combined with cream and finished with a spoonful of ghee. A lovely, earthy dish with a mild and subtle flavour, it's no wonder that this luscious Saagwala Curry is considered one of the great curries of India.

Chopped onions, spices, ginger, garlic and diced tomatoes are sautéed then the spinach is added and the mixture is then puréed until smooth

Browned beef is added to the creamy spinach sauce and simmered for 1-2 hours until the beef is cooked through and mouthwateringly tender

Beef and Spinach Curry

Serves 4

2 1/2 lb beef, trimmed of fat, cut into one to two-inch cubes

1/3 cup vegetable oil 
4 tbsp ghee, divided
4 dried red chilis
3 cloves
1 stick of cinnamon
4 green cardamom pods
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 large onion, diced
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric
13 oz can diced tomatoes
6 cups fresh spinach or 2 lb frozen spinach 
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp crushed kasoori methi
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste

If using frozen spinach, microwave until defrosted, then drain and squeeze out most of the water and set aside. 
In a heavy-bottomed sauté pan, heat the oil on medium and brown the beef in batches then set aside. In the same pan that was used to brown the meat, add the red chilis, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves, and sauté the mixture becomes aromatic. Then add the coriander seeds and cumin seeds and once they start to pop, add the onions. Sauté the onions until they are almost golden brown, about 15 minutes. 

Add the ginger-garlic paste and turmeric, and sauté until the raw smell disappears. Add the tomatoes, then cover and simmer until the tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes. Carefully mix in the spinach, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and purée until smooth, adding water as necessary to allow for a smooth consistency. Transfer the mixture to large bowl.

Heat the ghee to the pan, and add the blended spinach mixture plus the coriander, cumin, and kasoori methi, then cover and simmer for ten minutes, adjusting the salt as necessary. Add the beef with the vegetable stock and cover and simmer for another 80-90 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until the meat is tender,  adding more stock if needed. Stir in the cream and garam masala and serve hot with rice and buttered naan.