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Friday, January 29, 2010

Rice & Vegetables with Saag

A great Indian comfort food that is very nutritious, tasty, and that the whole family will enjoy is a rice & vegetable mix with Saag, which is an Indian dish normally made with spinach.  My preteen enjoys this with a side of plain yogurt.  I also like it with a little Indian pickle.  My 11 month-old baby enjoyed this mashed up a little with some plain kefir on the side.  

First, start your rice (I use Basmati) in a rice cooker and add frozen mixed vegetables toward the end.  The vegetables get steam-cooked with the rice.  I also added some cooked potato that I wanted to use up.  

While that is cooking, make your saag.  Start by sauteing spices of your choice.  I used a little asaefotida and added a ginger/garlic paste, along with turmeric.  Add diced tofu and cook till golden.  Add spinach.  I used some fresh spinach and added some frozen.  I also added some roasted garlic that I had on hand and wanted to use up.  Salt to taste as you go along - the salt gets soaked in better this way.  At the end, I added some garam masala (which you can get from the Indian store), or you could just try some black pepper. I added some cooked potato, which is optional.  I also added some corn meal flour as a thickener.  

I had started cooking fresh spinach in the slow cooker and added the remaining ingredients.  You can prepare it on the stove or put all your ingredients in the slow cooker to enjoy later.  You may want to saute the tofu separately to add towards the end.  This dish combination is completely vegan.  Traditional saag in India utilizes paneer, which is basically compressed ricotta cheese.  You can obtain this from the Indian store.  The dish would then be vegetarian.