Beet Green and Chickpea Curry

If there are beets around, can the beet greens be far behind?

I’ve been struggling for years to get together a reliable Indian spiced greens recipe. I love to order saag panir (alternate spellings: sak, sag, paneer) when I go out, but I’ve never been able to puzzle it apart in my own kitchen. It always seems like I end up with too much tartness, too much spice, or too much richness.

However, I’m very happy with how this dish came out, though I didn’t get as good a photo as I wanted. I think I’m halfway there now – the spicing in this worked very well for the combination of greens and chickpeas. Now I’ll have to try the spicing again with greens alone and see if the amounts need adjusting.

2 T. oil
2 T. butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. minced ginger
2 t. ground coriander
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. turmeric
1/2 t. paprika
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. cardamom
1/4 t. aniseed
1/2 c. tomato, chopped
6 c. beet greens, stemmed and shredded
2 c. cooked chickpeas
salt and pepper to taste

In a deep, wide pot, heat the butter and oil until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to brown. Add the garlic and spices, and cook, stirring, for a minute or two, until the spices have lost their raw smell and become incorporated with the oil, butter and onions.

Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until their liquid has been cooked off and they have reached a stage where they are starting to come apart a bit. Add the greens to the pot and stir to incorporate with the onion and tomato mixture. Add the chickpeas, along with about 1.5 c. water, stir to combine, add salt and pepper to taste, and cover. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender and the sauce is somewhat reduced. Serve over rice or with flatbread.

This makes about two large or three smaller servings in my vegetable-crazy household.

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