Chole Saag

Mark’s been sick this week and wasn’t up for dinner tonight. Long-time readers may know that when Mark doesn’t eat dinner, dinner is Indian! I’d been planning a nice autumn meal of seitan, kale, and delicata squash before he announced he wasn’t hungry, so I decided to save it for tomorrow instead of eating it alone. But then I eyed up the kale and considered how much I’d been looking forward to eating it…so I didn’t put it away.

Like a lot of my Indian meals, because they are generally impromptu affairs born of Mark’s refusal of dinner, this recipe was made up on the fly using ingredients I had on hand and needed to use up. I’d done a really smart thing Sunday afternoon after returning home from LA: I cooked up a pound of dried chickpeas, reserving some for salads, and freezing the rest. I also cooked up a large batch of rice and portioned it into single serving sizes, which were also frozen, ready for me to grab for a quick meal down the road. Tonight that quick meal was realized.

Chole Saag

1/2 large or 1 small onion, small dice
about 1″ of ginger, grated
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale, chopped into fairly small pieces
8 oz spinach, also chopped into fairly small pieces
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water, plus additional (I start with 1/2 cup broth and add plain water)
salt to taste (I used Indian black salt, but regular old salt is fine)
asafoetida to taste (optional; I love the stuff)
lemon wedges, for serving

In a large pan, pot, or wok, heat some oil over medium high heat, then add the onions, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, turmeric, garam masala, and asafoetida if desired. Cook until soft, then add the kale. Stir and cook down slightly, then add the spinach. Stir and cook down again, then reduce heat to medium and add about 1/2 cup broth or water and the chickpeas. Cook for about 20 minutes, adding 1/4 cup of water or broth periodically if it looks dry. Salt to taste. Serve over basmati rice with lemon wedges.

Since I didn’t take prep photos (I didn’t know it would be blog-worthy!), this post seems uncharacteristically short. To make up for it, here are some pictures I took shortly before our vacation, when I spotted a cardinal outside the window taking a bath in an overturned planter. Not the greatest pictures since I was taking them through both a screen and dirty glass, but the subject is pretty.

I wasn’t the only one charmed!


  1. radioactivegan Said,

    November 11, 2011 @ 12:41 am

    Mark is just crazy to miss out on that! It looks so good. And the bird looks adorable. For some reason, I imagine him sounding like Wilford Brimley 🙂

  2. Zoa Said,

    November 11, 2011 @ 11:19 am

    Nice Indian take on greens and beans! I love asafoetida too, and tend to add it to my Indian (and often other) dishes in quantities much larger than the “pinch” most recipes call for. Hope that’s not bad in any way…it *feels* good, it *tastes* good, so it must *be* good, right? Poor Mark, but on the other hand, it’s nice to work with that silver lining…

  3. Josiane Said,

    November 11, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

    That sounds so good! It’s clearly a win-win situation when Mark is sick: you get to eat Indian food, and he doesn’t feel like he’s missing out on anything when he’s not feeling up to eating the wonderful dinner you’ve cooked. 🙂

  4. Jes Said,

    November 11, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

    Hehe, the cats have the best spot in the house! Birdwatchin’ all day long. Love the cardinal pics–he looks so happy to be bathing.

    And the chole saag! Yum! I love quick & easy Indian meals–aren’t chickpeas just the best?

  5. Katrina Fleming Said,

    November 12, 2011 @ 12:34 pm

    Beautiful! I love the pics of the cardinals! I just did a blog post on feeding our birds vegan suet cakes and lamented that I didn’t have a good zoom on my camera to capture the birds who have been feasting on the suet. What kind of camera do you have?


  6. renae Said,

    November 13, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

    Hi Katrina, I just got a new camera, a Canon 60D. Although I do have a zoom lens, I used a 50mm prime lens (things through this lens look about the same distance they do in real life) for those pictures because that’s what was on the camera when I grabbed it. I probably cropped them a bit, making him look closer, but I was actually really close to him: the planter he is in is just 3 or 4 feet from the window. I also have a 70-300mm lens I’ve used for wildlife, and just bought an 18-200mm lens I intend to keep on the camera by default because it should be good for just about any situation, including photographing the wildlife in our yard.

    I checked out your blog – I’m definitely going to have to make your vegan suet!

  7. mark Said,

    November 12, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

    I ate the leftovers. Roar!

RSS feed for comments on this post

Leave a Comment