Chana Saag Aloo
Around here, we get cravings for Indian food… frequently! This Chana Saag Aloo recipe was born out of a really busy weekend, when it seemed I did EVERYTHING except go to the grocery store. Do you ever have weekends like that, where it seems like everything in the world needs to happen in those two short days? Maybe there are people out there who are super planners and are really good at organizing their lives, who are able to space out all those grown-up responsibilities so that they don’t have slammed-full weekends.
I am not one of those people.
Needless to say, after running multiple errands, replenishing cleaning supplies, doing laundry (SO MUCH LAUNDRY), re-doing the middle bathroom (pics to follow!), cleaning the house, I was not keen on going to the grocery store.
I needed an A.I.F. recipe – Already In Fridge!
I had all the ingredients for this delicious Chana Saag Aloo in my fridge/pantry, and I also wanted hot, comforting Indian food – Aaaahhh…. I love it when two good things come together.
Chana Saag Aloo, (for those unfamiliar with Indian food,) is Chickpea Spinach with Potatoes. Chana means “chickpeas”, saag means “spinach”, and aloo means “potatoes”. It’s a delicious, healthy, fantastic meal to whip up on the weekends – this makes multiple servings, so you can portion out any leftovers for a care-free lunch or dinner later in the week. Just add microwave!
Most of these foods are things I like to keep on hand in my kitchen so that when the cooking mood strikes me, I don’t have a SCARY HUMONGOUS grocery list to conquer before I can move onto the cooking part or (more importantly) the part where I shove it in my face-hole.
I’ve composed a short list of items for how to have a well-stocked pantry so you can be recipe ready.
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. cumin
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- ½ tsp coriander
- ½ tsp. garam masala
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 12 ounces fresh baby spinach
- ½ cup coconut milk (the refrigerated, drinking kind, not the canned kind)
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
- For the Curried Potatoes
- 2 russet potatoes
- Yellow curry powder, to taste
- Salt & Pepper
- Basmati rice, cooked
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Heat oil on medium heat in a large stockpot. Add the onions and garlic, cook until fragrant (about 4 minutes.)
- Add all the spices to the pan and cook while stirring for one minute.
- Add the water and vegetable broth to the pan.
- Add spinach to pot, cover, and steam until spinach has cooked down.
- Remove from heat, and allow to cool down.
- While your pot is cooling, cube 2 russet potatoes and spread out on a large, baking sheet with sides, sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle yellow curry powder over the top, and season lightly with salt & pepper, to taste. Put in preheated oven, and bake for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Once your pot is cooled enough to handle, add the entire stock pot contents to a blender. You may need to blend it in batches, depending on the size of your blender.
- Once pureed, add ½ cup coconut milk and blend until combined.
- Return the mixture to the stockpot and add ½ tsp. salt or to taste along with the drained and rinsed chickpeas and cooked potatoes, cook until the chickpeas are warmed through. Test seasonings and adjust as necessary.
- Serve over Basmati rice.
Step by Step:
Peel your garlic. I like this silicone garlic peeler by Kitchtensils. Sol is actually the one who discovered this little beauty. It’s so easy to use. I love fresh garlic (obv), but peeling it can sometimes be a little tedious when a particularly stubborn garlic skin refuses to come off in one piece. The Kitchtensils garlic peeler takes care of that. Just load your garlic cloves inside the tube, then roll the tube back and forth, using medium pressure. MAGIC. NO MORE TEDIOUSLY PEELING TINY STUBBORN GARLIC SKIN PIECES OFF YOUR BELOVED CLOVES. The skins come right off, and cleaning it is easy-peasy. Just rinse it out and let it air dry. At the time of this posting, you can order them here on Amazon for $5.99. If you’re like me and are peeling garlic enthusiastically and often, it’s totally worth it.
Sol also surprise-gifted me with this handy little dude – such a thoughtful man. He definitely knows what I like. Mincing garlic is something I do a lot of, and in the past, I’ve used the standard garlic press to mince my garlic. While they work, I’ve always had a problem with the garlic bits that are stuck in the little compartment – it wastes some of your garlic clove and it’s a b*tch to clean all those little mincing holes. The tool pictured above is the NexTwist Garlic Twist. You can get it here. You load your peeled garlic in here, close the lid, and twist it. The garlic minces perfectly, and you just dump the whole lot into your dish. NO MORE GARLIC WASTE! ALSO NO MORE scrubbing the traditional garlic press in a vain attempt to get all those little holes clean. Bonus: easy to clean, just rinse and air-dry. Gotta love that.
We’ve now reached my favorite part of cooking: the smell of garlic and onion sauteeing in a pan. Best. Smell. Ever.
You may be saying to yourself “that is a metric crap ton of baby spinach.” And you’d be right, my friend. There is a whole pound of it in this pot. Don’t worry. It will cook down. (Now you see though, why we went ahead and used the large pot for this.)
While your pot of spinach-y goodness is cooling off, cube up your potatoes, place on a baking sheet with sides that has been lightly sprayed with cooking oil, and season with yellow curry powder, salt, and pepper, to taste. Put em in the preheated oven and bake em’ for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Chana Saag Aloo, we’re coming for you!
While your potatoes are cooking, take your cooled stockpot mixture, and pour the contents into a blender. Add the 1/2 cup coconut milk and blend until smooth. Pour back into pot on the stove.
Add your potatoes and chickpeas over low/medium heat until chickpeas are warmed through.
Serve over basmati rice. This is also excellent when paired with naan bread.