Indian food is one of my top three favorite cuisines. No matter where I live, I look for the best Persian/Iranian, Japanese and Indian restaurant close to my home and become a faithful patron.
Ten miles from our home is Lotus Indian Restaurant, which has a lunch buffet to die for. My Indian food outing is not complete if I don’t eat saag. I love every version of it, with paneer, lamb, chicken, beef. This time at Lotus, they were serving chana saag. OMG, it was heavenly! I knew I had to add it to my repertoire of vegetarian dishes. Immediately, I knew the first place to look for the recipe was Aish’s (Aish Cooks) Saag Paneer! So, here it is! Using Aish’s recipe as my guide, I have adapted it and also switched paneer to chana/chickpeas. This recipe is not a difficult one to make at all!
Chana Saag - Indian Spinach & Chickpea Curry
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
. Adapted Saag recipe from Aish Cooks (aishcooks.com)
• 1 can 440 g/ 16 oz cooked garbanzo beans/chickpeas – drained, rinsed and skins pinched off
. (yield 200 g/ 1 cup)
. **For tastier chana/chickpeas, soak & cook dried form… go to 
• 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 300 g/ 10 oz/ 1 medium-large onion, diced small
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
• ¼ tsp ground turmeric powder
• 1 tsp salt
• 3 medium tomatoes, diced small -or- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
. (before dicing, I blanch tomatoes to remove skins and de-seed)
• ½ tsp red chili powder
• ½ tsp ground cumin powder
• ½ cup hot water
• 454 g/ 1 lb fresh spinach, cut in very small pieces with knife (don’t use a food-processor)
. (before cutting, wear medical-exam gloves to avoid finger nails tinting)
• 1 tsp garam masala powder
• ¼ cup heavy cream (vegan/nut cream, coconut milk)
◊  If using dried garbanzo beans: Soak 90 g (½ cup) dried garbanzo beans for 24 hours (dried beans will reconstitute to almost 3 times). Drain, rinse and place in a medium sized saucepan, covering with water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium, cook for 10 minutes (it will foam, scoop out foam or it’ll overflow), drain and rinse. (Process of draining after first boil helps keep beans from causing digestion problem/gas for some.) Wash the pot and return the beans to the pot and cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes or until cooked soft. Drain and rinse. Remove any visible loose skins of garbanzo beans. Also, skins are loose on the garbanzo beans, pinch the skin off each bean. It will yield a little more than 1 cup.
While garbanzo beans/chickpeas are cooking..
◊ In a medium-large pot, add oil and heat on medium heat. Add cumin seeds, and as soon as they sizzle, add onion and sauté until well caramelized. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric and sauté for a minute more.
◊ Add tomatoes, salt, chili powder, cumin powder and stir. Cover and cook on medium until tomatoes are broken down. (If using tomato paste, dissolve in ¼ cup hot water and add to the pot. When it simmers, go to the next step.)
◊ Add spinach and stir well. Cover and bring to a boil. Only if needed, add ¼ cup hot water. Cover and lower heat to a tad higher than medium-low heat and let simmer until the spinach is cooked through and very little liquid left.
◊ Test taste salt and spices, and adjust if needed. Add cooked chickpeas, cover and simmer for 10 minutes longer. Add garam masala and stir. Add cream, and stir. Bring to a low-simmer and turn off the heat.
◊ Chana Saag goes well with basmati rice or warm naan/roti, and raita (yogurt with grated cucumber and lightly spiced).
~ कृपया भोजन का आनंद लीजिये • (kripyā bhojan kā ānnaṅd lijīyai) ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?