Saag: Don’t Worry, You’re Doing It Right

What is the correct way to make saag? “I’ve had everything from really spinachy, drier versions to really creamy versions,” says tatamagouche. Is there one proper, traditional version, wonders tatamagouche, or is it just a matter of preference?

“Saag just means any kind of greens,” says luckyfatima, “so there is bound to be variation based on what green you are using.” Saag doesn’t just vary from region to region; it varies from house to house, and from dish to dish. Saag ki bhurji is “very finely shredded but not puréed, kind of a dry crumble,” says luckyfatima. Saag with daal or meat is usually finely shredded with a knife or in the food processor before cooking so it still has texture, and for creamy saag, as in saag paneer, “you might purée the cooked saag in the blender after it is cooked, then stir in the cream,” says luckyfatima.

Just as there are many ways to make, say, American creamed spinach, there are many ways of cooking saag, all of which are proper. “I grew up with the type of saag in which one could identify the leaves and the bitter flavors,” says JungMann, “but where I live now, I am more accustomed to seeing saag cooked to a paste and loaded with richness.” New variations are allowed too, like creamy saag with homemade tofu.

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