An Indian shelf would scarcely be complete without a recipe or two for this.
Saag gosht a la Madhur Jaffrey
8 tbsp vegetable oil
0.25 tsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
6 cardamom pods
175g onions, peeled and finely chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2.5 cm cube ginger, peeled and finely chopped
900g lamb shoulder, cut into 2.5cm cubes
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
0.25-0.75 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp salt
5 tbsp natural yogurt
900 g fresh spinach, trimmed, washed and finely chopped or 900g frozen spinach, thawed out
0.25 tsp garam masala
1. Put the oil in a large pan and set over a medium-high heat. When hot, put in the peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves and cardamom pods. Stir for a second. Now put in the onions, garlic and ginger. Stir and fry until the onions develop brown specks.
Now add the meat, cumin, coriander, cayenne and 1 tsp salt. Stir and fry for 1 minute.
Add 1 tbsp of the beaten yogurt. Stir and fry for another minute. Add another tablespoon of the yogurt. Stir and fry for a minute. Keep doing this until all the yogurt has been incorporated. The meat should also have a slightly browned look.
Add the spinach and the remaining 1 tsp salt. Stir to mix. Keep stirring and cooking until the spinach wilts completely. Cover tightly and simmer on a low heat for about 1 hour 10 minutes or until the meat is tender.
2. Remove the lid and add the garam masala. Turn the heat to medium. Stir and cook another 5 minutes or until most (but not all) the water in the spinach disappears and you have a thick, green sauce.
3. Note The whole spice in this dish are not meant to be eaten.
PS: My experience with particularly tough looking meat, in this case some gravy beef. I cooked it for an hour with extra water added to cover the meat completely, then reduced it to what it would have been otherwise, added the spinach, cooked for another hour or so. Did that yesterday, ate it today. It was divine, the meat melted in the mouth, the spinachy sauce was creamy.
And Rushdie’s version
900g boned leg of lamb
2 bunches spinach washed & finely chopped, less stems
175g onions finely chopped
1 tblsp garlic finely chopped*
1 tblsp ginger ” “*
225g tomatoes ” ”
6 tblsp cooking oil
½ teasp tumeric**
1+ teasp chilli powder**
2 teasp ground coriander**
2 green chillies finely sliced
1. Fry onions til golden. Add garlic and ginger, fry 1 min and add ** spices. Stirfry for a few minutes and then add meat.
2. Brown meat while stirring to mix well.
3. Add tomatoes and 120 mls water. Cover and simmer for 25 mins. Check for sticking and add water if necessary. At end of this period can add 120 ml water. If cheap meat continue this process for longer. Should be half cooked at least.
4. Add spinach, mix well. Continue cooking slowly over low heat until meat is absolutely tender.
5. Turn heat up, add chillies, stir-fry till extra moisture disappears and the sauce is thick, rich and clinging to the meat.
I used to think this was better than the Jaffrey recipe, but now that I’ve revisited MJ’s recently and was greatly enamoured of it, I’m not so sure. Maybe it needs a cook off.
« previous chapter | next chapter »