Sai Bhaaji (Pakistani Slow-Cooked Sindhi-Style Greens)

2013-05-14
  • Servings : 6
  • Prep Time : 15m
  • Cook Time : 2:00 h
  • Ready In : 2:15 h

I know what you’re thinking. You’re looking at that list of ingredients (17), at how many bunches of greens are in there (2 1/2), and at the “Ready In” time (2 hours and 15 minutes). You’re also probably not sure what “Sindhi” means, or at least I wasn’t until I found the recipe this one’s based off of in Saveur magazine. (It’s one of the four provinces of Pakistan, on the northwestern Indian border.) You might even be a little concerned about the spiciness level, what with the whole serrano chile and three chiles de arbol. And you might be wondering if this is worth making, what with the time involved, lengthy list of ingredients, and other totally reasonable concerns.

This is absolutely worth making.

After all, most of the ingredients are likely ones you have on hand, and nothing’s uncommon. There’s some time involved, but it’s pretty much unattended, so you can take care of other things while this simmers on the stove. And while it looks like it might be kinda spicy, all those greens soak up all that heat, so while you get a little tingling heat it’s nothing that’ll blow your mouth out.

But mostly, this is just delicious, and this recipe makes a TON, so you’ll have leftovers for days. Serve it as a totally satisfying main dish with rice, serve it as a side, spread it on a pita and bake for a quick mini-pizza, toss it with pasta, puree it with chickpeas for a Pakistani-style hummus, and whatever else you can think of. Go to town. This is just awesome stuff, versatile and healthy and satisfying, and two hours spent on it will be more than worth your while.

Ingredients

  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed
  • 1 2" piece ginger, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 2 bunches greens (I used one bunch of regular kale and one bunch of lacinato kale, but use whatever looks good to you), stemmed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch spinach, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup split peas
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 dried chiles de arbol (or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (or curry powder)
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Method

Step 1

Put the garlic, serrano, ginger, and 3 tablespoons of water into a blender and puree until smooth. Put the greens, spinach, and dal into a large pot, and add 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, the reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Transfer to a bowl.

Step 2

Wipe out the pot you boiled the greens in, then add oil and put over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and chiles de arbol, and cook until the seeds start to pop and the chiles get a shade darker. Add the garlic/serrano/ginger puree, and cook for a 2 minutes. (You might get some splattering when you add it, so be careful.) Add the onion and carrot, and cook 8 minutes. Add the tomato and cook until beginning to caramelize, around 5 minutes. Add the reserved greens/spinach/dal mixture, the remaining ingredients, and 1 cup of water. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook 35 minutes. Uncover and gently mash with a potato masher - you don't want a smooth, undifferentiated paste, but the mashing helps meld the flavors a little. Season to taste with salt.

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Comments (5)

  1. posted by Isela on May 15, 2013

    I’m excited to make this, but am not totally clear on the recipe. In step 2, when you say “add the remaining ingredients,” are you also talking about the greens/spinach/split peas or just the remaining unused ingredients? If it’s the latter, at what point do the greens in the bowl and the other ingredients come together?

      Reply
    • posted by Stefan on May 15, 2013

      Sorry for the lack of clarity – I’ll make sure to fix it. But to answer your question, yes, add the greens/spinach/split peas along with everything that hasn’t been added yet, cover, then cook. Thanks for catching that!

        Reply
  2. posted by Kristin on May 20, 2013

    You are correct. There are a lot of ingredients. It takes a while to make. BUT Holy Schnikeys is it GOOD!

      Reply
  3. posted by Sarah on August 13, 2013

    Sweet Jesus this is good. And it really is a snap to make! This is a must try, for sure! LOVE IT!!

      Reply
    • posted by Sarah on August 13, 2013

      I meant cinch, not snap ;). It does take a bit of time, but well worth it!

        Reply

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