Cooking is an art; it is the gift of overpowering senses and taking control of a person through their taste buds. While it is rightly said that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, we all know that the best bonds have been formed over a hearty meal like Lamb Saag. Some consider cooking to be inborn talent, but the reality is, anyone can cook! Given the right encouragement and motivation, anybody can bring themselves to cook a marvelous meal.
You don’t have to be a chef to take control of your kitchen and make a mouthwatering meal; all you need are the right ingredients and the will to continue no matter what. Indian cuisine hosts one of the most seasoned culinary techniques and flavors. Indian dishes bring together proteins and carbs into a holy union that can only be tasted when prepared with a recipe that is true to the roots of the dish.
Here, we shall look into the preparation of Lamb Saag or Lamb Saagwala, a delicious Indian curry, and how you can make the perfect Lamb Saag effortlessly!
What Is Lamb Saag?
Lamb Saag is also known as Saag Gosht. It is a flavorful combination of spinach and meat with plenty of spices that are sure to send your taste buds on a roller coaster ride. You can enjoy it with a serving of rice, but the preferred combination would be a naan or roti.
We have a straightforward approach to this tasty curry for those of you who are not accustomed to Indian cuisine. It may not seem very easy, and it sure does take some time to cook (as the lamb needs to be cooked perfectly), but it is definitely worth the process. As for the cooking technique used here, it is simple and straightforward, nothing overwhelming. So, whether you want to try out the dish for fun or someone earnest about cooking, the recipe will be easy to follow through!
There are two ways to go about this dish: one is to use fresh spices, and the other is to substitute the spices with their respective powdered forms. Both methods are acceptable, and you can use either of these depending on what is available to you. A rough sketch of the ingredients is given below.
- Garlic – 3 cloves
- Ginger – approximately 25g (roughly the size of a thumb), chopped
- Green Chili – 2, roughly chopped.
- Onion – 1 large, finely chopped
- Oil/ Ghee – 2 or 3 tablespoons (approximately) for frying
- Lamb Shoulder – 750g, Trim and cut into chunks of roughly 3cm
- Coriander Seeds – 2 teaspoons
- Cumin Seeds – 2 teaspoons
- Mustard Seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
- Cardamom – 2 pods, squashed
- Tomatoes – 4 large ones, each sliced into four pieces
- Lamb Stock – 500ml
- Baby Spinach – 200g, roughly chopped
- Coriander leaves – A handful, roughly chopped
Make sure you have all these ingredients prepped for immediate use, thus ensuring a smooth kitchen experience.
Before we go for the steps, it is essential to note that you can reduce much of your cooking time by multitasking and handling multiple portions of the meal simultaneously. It is suggested for those more experienced in the kitchen and with cooking. If you’re a rookie, you can go about these simple step-by-step process to receive a tasty, perfect lamb saag.
Step 1 – Toasting and Grinding the Spices
This is a step to be performed before starting any other preparation.
Take a dry frying pan, maintain a medium heat and toss in the coriander, cumin, and mustard seeds to slightly toast them. Stir for 2 to 5 minutes and then crush them with a mortar and pestle. Using a mortar and pestle here helps us stay true to the dish’s roots and bring out the dish’s authentic taste.
This process will help bring out the aroma in the seeds and provide a more intense flavor. As with Indian food, spices play an important role, and each step has an impact on the flavor profile of the dish.
Step 2 – Preparing the Puree
The first main component of the dish is the puree. To prepare the puree, add the onions, chopped garlic, ginger, and chilies into the food processor with a tablespoon of water (if necessary) and give gentle pulses. Turn off once the puree has the desired thick consistency and set it aside; we will need this later.
Step 3 – Brown the Lamb
Add 1.5 tbsp oil or ghee (as per your liking) to a pan. Roast the lamb slightly until it is brown all over. Focus on getting the sear rather than the temperature as the lamb will go back in later for a slow cook. Once it reaches a slight roast, take it off and leave it on a plate to rest.
Step 4 – Cook the Onion Puree
Add the remaining oil into the same pan and stir some turmeric, cardamom, and ginger for approximately 4 minutes. If you do not enjoy ginger in your meals, you can avoid using it at this step as it is already a part of your puree. Add the puree to this pan and stir for 2 to 5 minutes, until you can feel the fragrance emanating from the delicious curry and spices.
Step 5 – Mix Them All!
Add the lamb, tomatoes, and cinnamon stick to the puree and pour the stock. Stir, cover, and let it cook for 45 minutes over a low flame.
Step 6 – Cooking the Curry to Perfection
Continue cooking until the lamb is tender (should not take more than 45 minutes). Once the lamb is cooked to your liking, add the spinach and stir until it is wilted. If you are unhappy with the sauce (if it is not thick enough), take off the lid and let it simmer to reduce.
Step 7 – Final Touches
Once the sauce and lamb are cooked to satisfaction, turn off the heat and sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves.
And that is how you prepare a tasty Lamb Saag. Is this the perfect lamb saag? It could be. Can you take it up a notch, make a few tweaks to make it the best lamb saag?
Of course, you can! And that is what makes cooking so unique; you have endless opportunities to improve upon a single dish, maybe even add a signature style to it.
So, how do you improve upon this lamb saag? It isn’t that hard; all you have to do is take a different approach on certain steps, so let’s break it down with the main components of the dish.
The Puree –
Here, we have a spinach puree, which will be the first step of preparation. Blend 250g of baby spinach, a bunch of coriander, and lime juice from one lime in the food processor to get a smooth paste. Add water if needed, but make sure it isn’t too watery.
The Sauce –
You will need three tablespoons of ghee/oil, three large onions (finely chopped), and ginger and garlic paste for the sauce. The ginger and garlic paste must be made from 15 cloves of garlic ad 3 inches of ginger (approximately). You will also need cumin powder, garam masala, coriander powder, and red chili powder, all one tablespoon.
Heat the pan with ghee/oil and add the finely chopped onions to it. Sauté until they are translucent and slightly brown. Add the ginger and garlic paste and let it sizzle for about 30 seconds before adding the spice powders to this.
Remove this mixture from the pan and blend it in the food processor to get our onion sauce.
Transfer the onion sauce to the pan and check for seasoning. Season with salt and pepper, add the chunks of lamb—Cook for 40 minutes, or until the lamb is cooked to your satisfaction. Add water if the sauce feels too dry.
To top it all off, add the spinach puree. Watch as the green puree blends with the red curry, truly a wonderful sight to watch your creation turn into something beautiful and tasty! Stir for 2 minutes, and you are finally done!
The Finishing Touch
Now, I know you must be waiting to dig into your lamb saag, but finishing touches are essential to any dish. Once you have plated your dish, drizzle one or two tablespoons of yogurt (depending on your serving size) over the curry. Top it off with a sprinkle of fresh coriander, and your perfect lamb saag is ready to be served!
Garlic Naan – The Perfect Partner for Lamb Saag
The perfect lamb saag is incomplete without some buttery garlic naan to accompany it. There is not a single Indian restaurant that does not serve naan. While naan is made in a tandoor oven in restaurants and traditionally, you can get a very close replication on a Tawa (pan) using your stovetop. As a small addition to the lamb saag, we shall see in a few easy steps the process of making the perfect garlic naan to go with your lamb dish.
Our buttery garlic naan will have two components, the flatbread (naan) and the delicious garlic butter spread over it.
- Plain flour – 2 cups
- Baking soda – A quarter teaspoon
- Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
- Salt – Three-quarters of a teaspoon (or as per your liking)
- Oil – 2 tablespoons
- Curd/ Yogurt – A quarter cup
- Grated garlic – 2 tablespoons
- Water – Enough for kneading the dough to the perfect consistency
- Butter – 3 tablespoons
- Coriander – 2 tablespoons
Step 1 –
Add appropriate amounts of your dry ingredients – plain flour (2 cups), baking soda (1/4 teaspoon), baking powder (1 teaspoon), and salt (to taste, preferably ¾ teaspoon). Mix these thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Once all the dry ingredients are blended to perfection, add two tablespoons of oil, a quarter cup of curd (or yogurt), and one teaspoon of grated garlic and mix them well.
Add water and knead to get the dough to the right thickness. Grease it with oil, cover, and let it rest for about 2 hours. Resting the dough is necessary to get a light and fluffy dough, instead of having a thick and dense dough that makes you feel too full.
Step 2 –
Begin preparing the garlic butter by mixing three tablespoons of butter, one teaspoon of grated garlic, and two coriander tablespoons.
Step 3 –
Once your dough has rested, knead it to remove any air bubbles. Make smaller balls of dough from this. Roll each of the smaller balls of dough into a rough oval shape using a rolling pin. Make sure you do not roll it into a size larger than the size of your pan (Tawa) and ensure that it is not too thick or too thin.
Step 4 –
Keep your Tawa ready, and make sure it is not a non-stick variety. Grease your naan with water uniformly, and gently place it on the Tawa, water side down. The coating of water makes sure that the naan sticks to the Tawa. Slightly press the naan onto the Tawa to help it stick.
Wait for a minute, and flip your Tawa and cook your naan over the open flame until a golden brown color is obtained.
Step 5 –
Now that the naan is cooked to perfection, with a crispy, smoky flavor and a golden brown color, it is time for the buttery garlic spread. Brush the garlic butter over the naan, remove it from the flame, and move it to a plate.
You’ve got eight servings of garlic butter naan, steaming hot and ready to serve!
If you have an oven at your disposal, here’s a recipe you can follow to make delicious you mini garlic naans.
Did you know that you could get a perfect meal of lamb saag and garlic butter naan in just 12 easy steps? Now that the perfect lamb saag is complete, you can serve it with your naan and enjoy a great meal.
It is a burst of flavors and nutritional values, the perfect combination of proteins and carbohydrates. And as it is with almost all Indian dishes, it is going to be fireworks in your mouth, the richness of the spices, and the subtle yet elevated flavor of the naan; it is worth trying out!
Make sure you try out this recipe of Lamb Saag and drop your experience in the comments! Feel free to share any personal tweaks you have brought to the recipe 😉