Chana Saag – Undoubtedly the easiest and cheapest Indian dish I’ve ever made. You throw $9-worth of ingredients into a Crockpot and let it simmer into luscious curry heaven, or put in about 5 more minutes of hands-on time and make the dish on your stove in about 30 minutes. Easy, peasy, lemon…err, curry… you get the picture.
Why Chana Saag? Let me count the ways I love thee:
- Freezer meals: This recipe portions out to about 6 whopping bowls, which can easily be divvied up into separate Tupperware’s and frozen for up to 4 months. (*I suggest making a big batch of brown rice to freeze alongside for a balanced meal, ready to be nuked and served in minutes.)
- There are 9 ingredients. And you probably have 3 in your kitchen right now.
- It’s the least intimidating Indian dish ever, said me. So much so, I wish I hadn’t told you it was Indian. Now you’re going to be all “Do I havvveee to buy curry?” and I’m going to be all “No, but it’ll probably improve the flavor of the dish, and your life for that matter, and you should grow up and stop being scared of curry.”
Do yourself a favor and make some chana saag. You’ll be happy you did in 3 months when you’re 10 minutes late for work and need a quick, delicious, healthy meal in seconds. It’s silky smooth, exotic deliciousness y’all!
Makes 6 (approximate 1-cup) Servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil – one quart extra virgin olive oil runs about $6 at most grocery stores and will last you a long time
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped – about $1/bulb
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, diced – about $1
- One 8-ounce can diced tomatoes – about $1.50
- 1 pound frozen spinach – about $2
- One 15-ounce can garbanzo (chickpeas) beans, drained and rinsed – about $2
- 3/4 of one 14-fluid ounce can light (or regular) coconut milk – about $2.50
- Curry powder – an average 13g costs about $3-4 and will last you for years
- Turmeric – an average 13g costs about $3-4 and will last you for years
- Brown rice, for serving, optional
Approximate cost: $9, which makes 6 servings at $1.50 each
Approximate cooking time: CROCKPOT: 10 minutes hands-on time, 4 hours 10 minutes total. STOVETOP: 15 minutes hands-on time, 35 minutes total.
*See after the instructions for step-by-step photos.*
Heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the chopped garlic and diced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent.
Add the softened garlic and onion mixture, the tomatoes, spinach, beans, and 3/4 of the canned coconut milk to the Crockpot. Add a generous dash of curry and turmeric and stir all the ingredients together. Cook on low for about 4 hours until the mixture is lightly simmering and the spices are fragrant. *Do not cook on high at any point or the coconut milk will curdle.*
Transfer the softened garlic and onion mixture to a medium-size soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the tomatoes, spinach, beans, 3/4 of the canned coconut milk, and a generous dash of curry and turmeric. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes until the spinach begins to defrost and the dish takes on a soup-like texture. Let the mixture simmer, begin careful not to let boil, for about 20 minutes until the dish is soup-like and the spices are fragrant.
Serve over a bowl of brown rice for a balanced meal.
*Disclaimer: I’ve been receiving some feedback lately on the quality of my blog and the photos. This is a very amateur blog: the recipes are tested in my little college appartment kitchen, served up on $2 clearance Target bowls, and photographed on my iPhone. Maybe one day I’ll have a real camera to shoot from, but for now, the purpose of this blog is to deliver healthy, easy, and cheap recipes that work every time. Chana Saag is no exception. While the photos may be below subpar, the recipe is not. I assure you, your dish will look infinitely more appealing in real life, as well as smell and taste great.*
Happy Memorial Day Weekend!