Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Saak bhaja...

note saak bhaja

Saak or leafy greens are integral part of Bengali cuisine. From simple saute, stir fry to complex chochori (mish-mash with various vegetables) are part of everyday food. The leafy greens are not only delight for the tastebuds, these are rich in nutrients.

There is a wide range of leafy greens that are consumed, note saak (amaranth), palong (spinach), kalmi (water spinach), puNi (malabar spinach), sorse (mustard), lau,(bottle gourd) kumro (pumpkin), mulo (radish) are only a few to name. There are many more and each one has its own taste and nutritional value. Moreover each one is cooked in unique way. Saak is served in the beginning of a meal. And usually prepared with minimal spices and seasoning. But are also cooked along with other vegetables, bori (lentil nuggets). or in more elaborate way with shrimps or fish heads.

Today I have cooked note saak (green amaranth) for our Sunday lunch. It's a very simple basic preparation, called saak bhaja in Bengali. The chopped green amaranth was fried in mustard oil with chilies and Bengali five spice mix. 

note saak (green amaranth)

note saak (green amaranth)

note saak (green amaranth)

saak bhaja

saak bhaja

Things needed to make saak bhaja:

(Serves: 4)

  • Green amaranth: a bunch
  • Paanch foron (Bengali five spice mix): 1 tsp
  • Dry red chili: 1-2
  • Green chilies: 2-3
  • Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar: 1 tsp
(If do not have Bengali five spice mix, them mix together fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, nigella seeds in equal amount)

Steps of making saak bhaja:

1. Clean the green amaranth. Use only the leaves and soft stem, discard the root and thick stems. Wash well, drain and chop as finely as possible.

2. In a kadhai heat mustard oil, when hot add paanch foron, dry red chili. As the seeds start to splutter add chopped green amaranth, salt, turmeric powder. Cover and cook till done.

3. Add chopped green chilies, sugar to taste. Cook over high heat for 2-3 mins.

Serve hot with steamed rice with kasundi.

saak bhaja

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