Cavolo Nero Or Kale Saag (Curried Leaves)
Cavolo Nero Or Kale ka Sag
Cavolo nero and Kale are very similar, both dark green leafy vegetables. Cavolo Nero is also known as Tuscan kale or black kale. Both are rich in folic acid and vitamins A, K and C. Either can be used to make this dish.
Here I have cooked it in the style of a very popular north Indian dish called Sarson Kaa Saag (Mustard Greens Curry) , simply substituting Mustard leaves with Cavolo Nero leaves. Although ‘curry’ is not really the correct word for it, I can’t think of a better word at the moment.
The original Sarson ka Saag comes from the Punjab region of India, very commonly served with Makka Roti. I would serve this too with Makka or Bajra Roti. Serves 4-6
To boil the leaves
500gm. Cavolo Nero/Kale Greens (green leaves).
3-4 tbsp water
For cooking the blended saag:
2-3 tbsp. ghee or olive oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 medium onions (250-300 gm.), peeled and grated or chopped finely
1 green chill, chopped
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped or grated). Pieces of ginger, rather than ground ginger, taste nice in this dish.
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled (optional) and crushed
1-3 green chillies, or to taste, finely chopped
1 level tsp. turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 level tbsp. maize/corn meal flour or makka atta (not cornflour)
1/2 cup tinned/ fresh chopped tomatoes
2 tsp. sugar
For final Tarka or Tempering before serving
2-3 tbsp. ghee
A pinch of hing or asafoetida
3-4 whole dry red chillies
1/4-1/2 tsp. chilli powder (to taste)
Clean and wash Cavolo Nero leaves well and drain.
Remove the central vein from each leaf. These veins can be quite tough and can ruin your dish.
Chop leaves roughly.
Place in a steamer with a little water. I use a microwave steamer.
Steam the leaves for 3-4 minutes, more if they feel undercooked. . You can pressure cook them for 4-5 whistles/pressures/minutes.
Turn heat off and cool.
Place the leaves in a blender, along with the water in which they were steamed. Blend to a fine paste. It takes longer to blend Cavalo leaves than spinach. Make sure they are blended smooth. Keep aside
Cooking the blended saag:
Heat the ghee in a pan.
Add cumin seeds and asafoetida and wait for seeds to splutter/crackle/turn brown.
Add onions, garlic, ginger, green chillies and fry until onions are nicely browned.
Add tomatoes. Stir them in.
Add turmeric, salt and chilli powder, stir quickly
Stir fry until oil begins to shine at the edges.
Add blended leaves, stir and bring to a gentle simmer for 3-4 minutes.
add sugar and stir it in.
The final Tarka or Tempering just before serving
Place heated saag in a serving bowl.
Heat the ghee in a ladle.
Add whole, dry red chillies, stir gently for 5-10 seconds.
Add chilli powder and stir it into hot ghee quickly. Pour over the hot saag, cover with a lid to lock in the flavours