Coconut Saag Masala

And now: a crash course in bastardized/invented/”Indian-inspired” Indian dishes!

Have you met my friend garam masala?  It looks like this, before it’s ground:


Garam Masala is one of the great things in life.  You can buy some in a normal grocery store, pre-ground, and it will be OK, but for the real deal, check out specialty groceries or farmer’s markets, or make your own.  After salt, pepper, and cumin, this is the most frequently used item in my spice cabinet; I have no idea how to authentically use it, but basically it’s good for everything, all the time.  Sometimes I pull it out and smell it when I’m sad.

So: this recipe is basically a remix of the southern “beans and greens” classic.  My friend Nick, who is almost obsequiously southern, informs me that “stewed in butter” is the only proper way for a southern vegetable to be cooked.  We’re stewing everything in an amazing coconut masala sauce instead.  Hopefully that justifies the new name?


Anyway, down to business.  First, chop up
~1-2 onions, and put
~some oil, or butter (or, if you want to be obscenely fancy, ghee) in the bottom of your stockpot saute till they smell amazing.
Now, dump in:
~2 (15 oz) cans tomatoes
~1-2 (15 oz) cans beans, drained and rinsed
~1 can coconut milk–make sure it’s a brand that has some cream involved
~3/4 lb greens–collards, kale, and similar, washed and chopped into a size that’s convenient to eat.  Use about 25% less greens if you’re doing two cans of beans.  Alternately, substitute in any other vegetables you need to use up.
Of course you’ll want to experiment.  I like a lot of sauce.
Now the seasoning:
~garam masala, ground–you probably want about four times as much of this as all the other dry spices combined
~concentrated bullion (Better than bullion is the best I’ve found.  If anybody can tell me the best vegan options, that would be great to know. . .)
~Celery seed
~Cayenne pepper
Basially, you’re going to let it stew till the greens have started to cook down.  You’re going to dump in something, and smell, and taste, and stir. . . and repeat.  Start the process with at least two and a half heaping tablespoons of bullion, and nearly a quarter cup of garam masala.
I know.  Someday I will learn to measure. Maybe.
Speaking of, this makes a lot of food.  I feel like it could easily feed six, as a main dish with a couple of sides?  Or you could feast for a week.  The choice is yours.
Edit: I forgot one thing.  Traditionally–and I think here, tradition is right–with sturdy greens like this, you want to err on the side of overcooking.  Leave it all on the stove at low heat, stirring occasionally, till your desired consistency is achieved.  Then eat it. 😛

One thought on “Coconut Saag Masala

  1. I don’t use garam masala nearly enough, I have to admit! Hm, plus I have some cumin seeds that could be roasted and ground… Might have to make this soon, even if it isn’t quite “Southern”. Also, measuring is for chumps who don’t appreciate the gestalt of cooking! Well, maybe for bakers and people who use slow cookers a lot, or professional chefs, or cookbook writers, or… well, like I said, for chumps!
    Thank you for showing me deliciousness =)

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