UNCLE PALI'S SAAG WITH KALA CHANA AKA GREENS WITH BLACK CHICKPEAS
By Jaspal Singh
Makes around 4 portions
· 750g of finely chopped seasonal greens, e.g. a combination of spinach, mustard leaves, fenugreek leaves, rapeseed leaves
· 800g of soaked or tinned black chickpeas
· 1 chopped red onions, 3 cloves of chopped garlic and a small piece of chopped ginger
· 5 chopped fresh juicy tomatoes
· Spices: whole coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, black sesame seeds, onion seeds, mustard seeds, fresh or dried curry leaves, fresh or dried red chillies, salt, turmeric powder, smoked paprika powder
· Vegetable oil
Roast the chickpeas
Drain the black chickpeas and evenly spread them on a baking tray, add a little bit of salt and smoked paprika powder and sprinkle with a bit of vegetable oil.
Put the tray into the oven set at a medium-high heat for around 20-30 minutes until the chickpeas are crispy.
Make the tadka (spice mix basis)
While the chickpeas are roasting, dry toast the fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves in a non-stick wok, on a high heat for around 1-2 minutes, until the mustard seeds are crackling.
Add some vegetable oil and reduce the heat.
Add the chopped red onions, garlic and ginger and keep mixing and cooking at medium heat for around 3 minutes until the red onions become slightly transparent. The garlic shouldn’t become too brown.
Increase the heat and add the chopped tomatoes and mix thoroughly and cover with a lid for around 2-3 minutes.
Prepare spices: Grind the coriander seeds, chop the chillies
Remove lid and add the ground coriander seeds, the chopped chillies, the black sesame seeds, the onion seeds, the turmeric powder and the salt and mix well. If the mixture feels too dry, add a little bit of water and keep mixing.
Reduce the heat to medium, cover with a lid and let it cook the tadka for 4-6 minutes.
Blend the greens
While the tadka is cooking and absorbing the spices, chop the greens and put them into a blender and make them into a fine paste. Add some water if necessary.
Everything is coming together
Add the blended greens into the tadka and mix well. Cover with a lid and let it cook for another 1 minute.
Remove the chickpeas from the over and add them into the mixture.
Let everything cook for another 10 minutes
Serve with rice or roti (traditionally saag is served with makki ki roti, i.e. maize flour flatbread). The dish goes very well with coconut yoghurt and mango chutney.