This Saag Shrimp recipe makes a case for consuming your greens

The primary chunk I took was the naan – crunchy and calmly smothered in easy ghee. It was ethereal, doughy and crunchy unexpectedly. I dragged a chunk right into a bowl of saj shrimp, took a chunk and was surprised. It hit all of the notes I’ve all the time wished from a vegetable dish, and it is an ideal interaction of substances. Improve the juiciness of tender shrimp with recent spinach, ginger, garlic and chili.

I used to be at Le Taj in downtown Montreal with my husband, Mark, who has been visiting this elegant restaurant virtually each summer season since 1988. Copper bowls stuffed with rice korma, zacuti, bindi, steamed rice and this excellent shrimp saag crowded our desk. Small bowls of pickles and sauces perched alongside the sting of the desk.

The meals recollections have remained the identical in any case my travels. I are inclined to wrap myself in a cocoon of nostalgia: “Do you bear in mind how heat and buttery kouign-amann was that morning?” “The proper strawberry now we have at Jean-Talon?” Again in Brooklyn, I recounted a scrumptious element about our journey to Marc: “Bear in mind the sag shrimp that evening at Le Taj?” Veggies not often maintain a candle to pastries in my thoughts. However this sag settled into my consciousness, together with the buttery sugary pastries I like a lot.

After I returned to Le Taj in Could, the saag shrimp exceeded what I might recall. The delicacies at Le Taj is primarily North Indian, as is the dish itself. (The proprietor, Vinod Kapoor, grew up in Mussoorie, within the northern state of Uttarakhand.) Though he’s a reluctant restaurateur, he’s within the eating room virtually at evening, scurrying by means of it alongside Faizil Islam and Connoisseur Dorji, seasoned waiters who’ve labored on the restaurant for over 25 years. (They’ve been there for so long as Mark can bear in mind.) Over time, Mr. Kapoor has remodeled Le Taj into an establishment.

Wrapped tightly in brightly coloured silk and encrusted with gems, it highlights the evening’s dessert menu, served to diners on the finish of the meal. His boldness matches completely with the sepia-coloured plaid that traces the restaurant’s partitions, a nod to Mr. Kapoor’s previous as an artwork gallery proprietor and jewellery designer.

“I’m not a chef,” Mr. Kapoor mentioned. “Earlier than the restaurant opened, the one connection I had with eating places was that I ate one meals each evening.”

He has credited the Saag Prawns, one in every of his favourite dishes on the menu, to Chef Purin Singh, who he calls “a grasp of his craft”.

Mr. Singh walked me by means of the recipe, beginning with a drizzle of impartial oil in a skillet over medium warmth. Onion and cumin seeds are gently sautéed earlier than a splash of floor allspice, a ladleful of curry sauce from a base made that morning, a number of giant prawns, blanched spinach, and a splash of cream are added. It is apparent sufficient, however Mr. Singh’s secret, I feel, is the freshness of his substances: spices, spinach, shrimp, and even chopped tomato for a garnish.

Luckily, the Saag is available in many ingenious variations. Leafy greens, corresponding to spinach, amaranth, mustard greens, or fenugreek make up the majority, and a potent mixture of spices and aromatics improve flavour, whereas varied proteins may be added to reinforce the feel and taste of the finished dish.

However Shrimp Sag satisfied me that if I had to decide on between greens and a butter-laden pastry, I might reply with out lacking a beat, “I would relatively have the sag.”

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