Aloo Saag Curry
The farmers market produce seems to come in waves around here. Meaning, I like to buy metric tons of certain vegetables when they look good, and nothing of everything else. Such was the case with the potatoes and tomatoes last week.
There were 1/2 bushel baskets of each for five dollars at one of the stalls. I mean – how can you say no to that? Five dollars for enough to potatoes and tomatoes to feed me for a month??? The Irish girl in me couldn’t resist! And then, this Irish girl promptly decided to make the most Punjabi style potato curry she could think of. Does that count as culture fusion cuisine or what?!
Normally when I make a curry I start by toasting some spices and peppers to make my masala, then reduce some of the more savory/aromatic ingredients and whir them in the blender to get a base, and then mix everything together with the rest of the ingredients to put it all together. This curry is a little different. I do start by toasting my spices, but then instead of tossing them in the spice grinder, I leave them whole, and add the rest of the aromatic/base ingredients, cover and cook them all down together. The juice released from the tomatoes ensures nothing burns or sticks, and the long, slow cooking time ensures that the spices are softened enough that when I do blend everything together, the pulse right in and don’t leave any unappetizing chunks.
The greens in this curry are totally up to whatever you have on hand. I typically use spinach, since that’s a very neutral flavored one, that lets the other flavors shine, but just the other day all I had on hand was a massive bunch of pumpkin leaves that were approaching the end of their life (I bought them and then realized I have NO IDEA what to do with pumpkin leaves…) so I threw them in instead. They were delicious! You could even skip the greens, but I really like the extra nutrition they add, and they make it so pretty!
My favorite potatoes for this are baby reds, as they hold their shape well and have a nice firm texture that contrasts well with the rest of the curry. You could use russet as well though if that’s all you have on hand. I wouldn’t recommend Yukon golds though, as they tend to break down quickly and would make the curry more of a stew!
As always, if you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender, just be careful while pouring the hot liquid as it tends to splash! (And tomato burns are no joke!) You can use a ladle to get out the big chunks, which makes pouring the curry much easier.
- 2 Tbsp Canola Oil
- 1 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
- 2 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Black Mustard Seeds, or Nigella Seeds
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1/2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds (methi)
- 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
- 1/4 tsp Asafoetida (Hing)
- 2 Garlic Cloves, roughly chopped
- 1/2" Ginger, roughly chopped
- 2-3 Green Thai Chilis (to taste), roughly chopped
- 3 lb Tomatoes, blanched and skinned
- 1.5 lb Baby Red Potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 3/4" chunks
- 1 large Bunch Greens (Spinach, Kale, Chard etc)
- 1.5 tsp Salt (or to taste)
Heat the oil on medium high in the bottom of a large Dutch oven. Add the whole spices, chopped chilies, garlic and ginger and toast until fragrant, stirring frequently, about a minute.
Add the ground spices and toast another 30 - 45 seconds.
Add the skinned tomatoes. Using a wooden spoon break them up a bit. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for 30 - 45 minutes, or until tomatoes are almost completely broken down and thickened.
Using an immersion blender (or a counter-top blender) pulse the curry until it is completely blended and smooth. Add salt, taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Add the potatoes, cover the pot again, and cook for another 15 - 20 minutes, or until you can easily poke the potatoes with a knife.
Add the greens, stir in, and cook uncovered until the greens start to wilt (5 - 10 minutes). Adjust the seasoning again if necessary and serve!