Having grown up in a UP household, I was used to seeing this preparation cooked by my mother quite regularly. I guess SagPaita and steamed rice must have been one of my earliest exposures to what we know as ‘Comfort Food’.
Every comfort food leaves a lingering impression on your mind and on your taste buds. What I remember very vividly about SagPaita is the hot tadka of Ghee being poured on the top and then the soothing “ch” sound being emitted from the pan (which explains why Tadka in Hindi is referred as “Chaunk”- this thought is borrowed from Wikipedia)
Instead of treating SagPaita as a fixed recipe, I would describe it as an idea which can be modified, altered based on a season or one’s personal preference. For example, you could add different sorts of greens (leafy vegetables) in this Preparation like Spinach, Bathua, Chana, Chaurai (Green Amaranth), or combination of these greens. The recipe does not require using any particular Lentil. One can use Dals like Tur Dal, Chana Dal, Masoor Dal or its combination. Thus you see, this is one of the most flexible preparations you would ever find.
Currently in Summers, Spinach leaves are found in abundance. So we decided to make this filling and satisfying preparation by combining Spinach (Palak) with Chana Dal (you can experiment with other Dals too). Palak is cooked with Dal, typically in a pressure cooker until Dal becomes soft and mushy. Authentically, this preparation does not require addition of Onions and turmeric and a generous dose of Garlic and Asafoetida is added to this Dal. However, I have seen my Mom use Onions and even Tomatoes in the preparation so nothing must stop you from experimenting with this preparation.
Remember to finish off this preparation with a Tadka (tempering) of Ghee, Cumin Seeds and Red Chilies. To elevate your cooking experience here’s what you can do- close your eyes after you have put the Tadka and listen into the beautiful symphony of noises created by spices sizzling in Ghee and let your olfactory senses take over and feel the pleasant aroma of Ghee (that for me dear readers is what Nirvana is). Enjoy your weekend with this delicious Veg Preparation and remember to share your feedback with us.
- 1 Bunch Spinach-260gms Washed and Cleaned
- ¾th Cup=135gms Split Chickpeas-Soaked in water for an hour
- 1 Medium=70gms Onions-finely chopped
- 1 Medium=60gms Tomatoes-finely chopped
- Mustard Oil
- Clarified Butter
- 4 Green Chilies
- 2 Dry Red Chilies
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- ½ tsp Asafoetida Powder
- 5-6 Cloves of Garlic-chopped
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
- Salt to taste
- We will cook Chana Dal and Spinach in a Pressure Cooker. Drain water and transfer Chana Dal to a Pressure Cooker. Roughly chop Spinach Leaves and transfer it to Pressure Cooker. Add 2 Green Chilies, Turmeric Powder, half quantity asafoetida powder and some Salt. Add 2 Cups of Water. Now we will Pressure cook Dal and Spinach. 1 whistle on High and 2 on medium. Allow pressure to release normally.
- We will heat 2 tbsp Mustard Oil. As Mustard Oil becomes hot enough, lower the heat and allow temperature to drop down slightly.
- Add Cumin Seeds, Asafoetida Powder, Garlic, Green Chilies and fry until Garlic turns brown. Add Onions and fry until it becomes soft.
- Onions become soft in 4 mins on low heat. Now, add Tomatoes. Add some Salt. Cook until Tomatoes become soft (5 mins). Now add cooked Dal.
- Chana Dal has become soft. Now add Garam Masala Powder. You can add some water, if you think Dal is to thick. Allow Dal to simmer on medium heat. As Dal begins to simmer, reduce heat and cook for 2-3 mins.
- We will prepare a Tadka. Heat 2 tsp Clarified Butter. Add ½ tsp Cumin Seeds and 2 dry Red Chilies. Pour this Tadka over Dal and mix well. SagPaita is ready to be served
Click to watch recipe video