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A mouthwatering treat: How to make restaurant-quality lamb saag

The thing that makes Indian cuisine so distinctive is the exotic blending of fresh herbs and spices that infuse every bite with level after level of aromatic flavor. From crispy samosas to butter chicken, basic curries to dal soup, whether you like hot and spicy meals or prefer more mild foods, there is something for everyone to try in Indian cuisine. And if you’re looking for ways to use up some of your home-grown vegetables, Indian recipes give you plenty of options.

Curry is a mainstay in Indian dining. A gravy or sauce that’s served with veggies or meat, and usually a scoop or two of Basmati rice, curries contain a variety of spices and can be mild or extremely hot. Saag, a popular type of curry, is one you’ll find in many Indian restaurants served with chicken, veggies, shrimp, or lamb. When you’re looking for a comforting curry, there’s nothing better than lamb saag. Here’s how to make it just like your favorite Indian restaurant does.

All the tasty details about lamb saag

What is saag sauce made of?

This recipe features a saag made from spinach, but saag can be made with other greens as well — such as mustard greens, collard greens, or finely chopped broccoli — mixed with fragrant spices and sometimes even mixed with paneer (the Indian version of cottage cheese).

What is ghee, and how does it differ from butter?

This recipe calls for ghee. Ghee is clarified butter that has all of its milk solids and water content removed, leaving behind a composition that’s almost 100% pure fat. The process gives ghee a higher smoke point than butter, so it doesn’t burn like butter can when cooked at higher temperatures. You can find ghee in specialty grocery stores, or you can make your own. 

Is lamb saag the same as saagwala?

Saag, saagwala, and sag are slightly different names for the same curry, although each individual cook’s recipe may vary slightly.

What should you serve with lamb saag?

With a hearty amount of delicious gravy, saag dishes are great when paired with traditional Indian breads such as naan or chapati. If you’re looking to add another side dish, lentils are an excellent choice. 

How to make lamb saag just like your favorite Indian restaurant

This restaurant-quality curry features tender chunks of lamb in a mouthwatering spinach sauce. Richly flavored, it’s also a sneaky way to add more veggies to your dinner.

Like most Indian recipes, this one is loaded with lots of delicious spice; every mouthful is a flavor explosion. In addition to the lamb and spinach, this saag recipe includes a lot of herbs and spices, so be sure to check your spice rack before starting this recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2.2 lb. lamb cut into 1-in. cubes
  • 1 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 cup of chopped onions
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • A handful of fresh cilantro
  • 2-3 chopped green chilies
  • 2 cups of chopped spinach
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1-in. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. kasuri methi
  • 2 tbsp. oil

Instructions

  1. Add spinach leaves to a large saucepan of boiling water, and allow it to blanch for about a minute before removing the spinach and transferring it to a bowl of cold water.
  2. Once the spinach has cooled, place the spinach leaves, green chilies, and cilantro leaves into your food processor and blend into a smooth puree. Set aside while you prepare your lamb.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over high heat and add cubed lamb chunks. Cook for about five minutes until all sides are browned and then add a little salt for seasoning. 
  4. Add 2 cups of water to the frying pan and cook the lamb, covered, for about another hour until it’s nice and tender. Remove the lamb from the pan and set it aside. 
  5. Lower the heat on the pan to medium-high. Add more oil and a tablespoon of ghee, and sauté chopped onions until browned. 
  6. Add garlic and fresh ginger, and sauté until fragrant. Then come the spices: ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika, and red chili powder. The smell will be heavenly as you stir for about 30 seconds. 
  7. Add tomatoes until mushy (you can use canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes), then add in the lamb chunks and spinach puree. 
  8. Garama masala and kasuri methi are the final touches, before seasoning with salt and allowing the curry to heat through. 
  9. Once it’s done, you can garnish with chopped cilantro and serve over Basmati rice or with a side of butter naan (for sopping up all of that delicious sauce). 

Making Indian food at home can be challenging, but the results will be well worth your efforts. Once you get the hang of some of the terminology and you stock up your spice rack with the necessary ingredients, you’ll be able to create some amazing and delicious meals your whole family is sure to love. 

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Kim Renta
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kim has written for Bloomingdales, Movado, and various e-commerce wine sites. When she's not writing about wine and…
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