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Chana Saag - Cucina Cultura
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Chana Saag

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Last October, we moved from Oakland down to San Diego. Like any self-respecting Californian, we moved by car. It took us three trips, all told, to move our lives out of the bay down south. Each trip, we’d take California’s aorta, Interstate 5, to get us down through LA into SD in the least amount of time. And each time, we’d stop at our favorite Indian spot south of the Bay Area, and north of the Grapevine: Taste of India, just off the 5 in Buttonwillow.

If you ever have the opportunity to stop here, we highly recommend it. Their food is quick, cheap, and far better than the neighboring Jack in the Box and McDonalds. The proprietor is also a very polite, interesting guy. This is our tribute to Buttonwillow’s finest.

Chana Saag
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  2. 2 teaspoons coriander seed
  3. 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  4. 3/4 cup red onion
  5. 4 garlic cloves
  6. 1 tablespoon ginger
  7. 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  8. 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  9. One pound baby spinach, chopped
  10. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  11. 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  12. 2 medium tomatoes, finely diced
  13. 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  14. 1 teaspoon garam masala
  15. 1 can chickpeas (about 2 cups)
  16. 1/2 cup coconut milk
  17. Juice of 1 lemon
  18. Salt to taste
  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of the coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the coriander seed and the cumin seed, stir fry until the cumin seeds darken slightly.
  3. Add half of the onion, and the garlic and ginger and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the mint, cilantro and spinach and crushed red pepper to the pan, and sauté until the spinach has wilted.
  5. Transfer the greens mixture into a bowl and set aside.
  6. Using the same pan, heat the additional teaspoon of coconut oil over medium heat.
  7. Add the mustard seed, and heat until the mustard seed begins to sputter.
  8. Add the remaining onion and sauté until the onions have turned translucent.
  9. Add the chopped tomato and tomato paste to the pan. Sauté until the tomato breaks down, and has formed into a thick pulp.
  10. Return the greens mixture to the pan, and add the garam masala, coconut milk, and chickpeas. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes until the mixture thickens a bit.
  11. Season with salt and pepper and lemon juice.
  12. Serve hot with basmati rice.
Cucina Cultura http://cucinacultura.com/
Blurb about Taste of India’s Chana Saag moving to SD piece at a time.

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