Saag – an Indian dish of leafy greens, eaten along with rotis or rice. A variety of leaves can be used in saag: spinach and mustard greens are popular choices, while chaulai (amaranth leaves) is used often in Bihar. Chaulai saag is a simple, dry preparation with amaranth leaves and a hint of spices.
Times are changing. Not so long ago, rustic dishes like sattu chokha and chaulai saag were perceived as "non-hip". With growing awareness about nutrition and emphasis on natural/unprocessed eating, the image of these dishes has taken an about-turn. Amaranth leaves? Supergreen. Eating chaulai saag? Smart and health-aware.
More power to this trend, I say!
- Amaranth leaves – 400 grams
- Onions – 2 medium (1 cup when chopped)
- Besan (gram flour) – 1 tablespoon
- Amchoor powder (dry mango powder) – 1/2 teaspoon
- Red chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Turmeric powder – 1/3 teaspoon
- Salt – to taste
- Dry red chilies – 1
- Asafoetida powder – 1/3 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
- Mustard oil – 1 tablespoon
How To Make Chaulai Saag:
Pluck the leaves and tender stems for use in the saag. Discard the thick stem/root.
Wash the amaranth leaves well.
Chop the leaves.
Chop the onions finely.
In a pan, heat the oil. When hot, add asafoetida powder and cumin seeds, let the seeds crackle. Add a dry red chili, toss it over quickly as it turns shade, then add finely chopped onions.
Fry the onions on medium heat till golden. Add turmeric powder and red chili powder, cook for a minute.
Add the chopped amaranth leaves along with salt. Cook covered, stirring every other minute, till the leaves have wilted and released water (around 10 minutes).
Add amchoor powder and stir. Sprinkle besan all over. Quickly mix the besan in before it forms lumps. Continue to cook the saag on medium-high heat, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes or till the besan has cooked and blended well.
Chaulai saag is ready to serve.
In the picture below: chaulai saag with methi dahi (fenugreek-flavored yogurt), sambar and chapatis.
For another delicious amaranth leaves recipe, try chaulai dal.