Whenever we go to an Indian restaurant, my wife’s favorite dish to order is shrimp saag. What is saag? Well, it’s a leaf-based type of curry eaten in India, made with leafy veggies like spinach, mustard greens, basella, collard greens, or a combination of those. A popular version is saag paneer, which is creamy and made with fresh Indian cheese called paneer. This recipe is for a non-dairy saag with a tomato-based sauce. It’s not super spicy, but you could increase the heat by adding additional cayenne or dried chilies.
1 onion, finely chopped
2 Tbs neutral oil for frying, such as canola
1-2” piece of fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp dried red chili flakes or ½ tsp cayenne
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp salt
14-oz can crushed or diced tomatoes or tomato puree
½ lb. medium or large shrimp, peeled & deveined
½ lb. fresh spinach leaves, washed & dried, then chopped
½ tsp garam masala
1. Heat the oil in a deep-sided skillet and cook the onion until golden, 4-5 minutes.
2. Add the fresh garlic and ginger and fry for another minute or two before adding the cinnamon, chili, coriander, turmeric and salt.
3. Stir well until the onions are coated in the spices then add the canned tomatoes. Stir well to combine the ingredients.
4. Cover and simmer the sauce over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the sauce doesn’t stick to the pan.
5. After 30 minutes, stir in the garam masala followed by the shrimp and washed (and dried) spinach.
6. Stir well and keep the curry moving until the spinach leaves are just wilted and the shrimp are warmed through. This only takes 3-5 minutes, depending on the size of your shrimp.
Serve with basmati rice and/or warm naan.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.