This is Kerry and my's favorite Indian dish. It's full of savory flavor and you can make it as mild or spicy as you would like. The thick sauce is a great way to stretch some meat into several meals (I've made it with as little as 1/4 pound). It's also the perfect recipe to use up that spinach in the fridge ASAP.
Prepare the Oil
In a large heavy bottomed pot melt the ghee under medium heat. Do not let the oil smoke.
Add the peppercorns, the cardamom pods and the star anise and fry the spices until they darken and begin to pop but do not burn, about 2 minutes
Add the curry leaves and fry for another minute.
Fry the Veggies
Add the minced onions to the oil in the pot and fry on medium high heat. Keep frying until they begin to darken and caramelize. Add more ghee if necessary
Add the green chili, grated ginger and the garlic. Continue to fry until the garlic and the peppers have softened.
Use your spoon or spatula to break open the cardamom pods and empty out the black seeds inside. Remove and discard the pod shells.
Remove the star anise from the oil and set aside, You will be adding them back to the pot later.
Make the Sauce
Add the can of diced tomatoes to the onions and cook scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the chicken broth (I've never been able to find lamb broth, you could use vegetable) and bring it back to a boil.
Now this is why I asked for a large heavy pot. Add the greens to the pot (If I'm using the full 24 ounces I sometimes have to wait till some sautes to fit the rest in.) and put on the lid.
Steam the greens for about 5 minutes. Open the pot and give the greens a stir, bringing the cooked vegetables from the bottom up and getting the greens still uncooked toward the bottom. Continue cooking and turning the greens until they are all well cooked.
Open the lid and remove the pot from the heat. Prepare your immersion blender with the blending attachment and go to town.
You want to completely blend the contents into a sauce. Don't think you are doing it too much, remember there are whole peppercorns in there. You probably won't get them all, but I love the surprise pop of flavor when I bite into one... we just don't want it every bite!.
When the sauce is completely blended add the star anise back to the pot.
Add the bay leaves, curry powder and garam masala.
Add the lamb cubes to the pot and reduce the stove to low heat.
Cook the sauce for at least 30 minutes, but you can go to the end of time as long as you don't let the sauce burn. If the sauce is too thin leave the top off only slightly covering the pot. This sauce is a splatter hazard, If you have a splatter guard now is the time to use it.
The longer you cook the saag the more tender the lamb will become. It's one of the things I love about this dish you can just leave it on the stove or dump it in a crock pot until you are read to eat. Forget trying to time it to be ready just in time for dinner.
Taste it periodically and adjust the spices, the types of greens you use will affect the flavor of each batch you make. I really like adding about 1/3 mustard greens for some added depth.
Add some lemon juice to brighten the sauce if it lacks acid.
Serve the saag hot over basmati rice.
Add a dollop of yogurt and sprinkle with fresh cilantro leaves and a lemon wedge
It will keep in the fridge for about a week and freezes well.