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

Serve Sai Bhaaji 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.


– 6 cloves garlic, peeled – 1 serrano chile, stemmed – 1 2' piece ginger, peeled and sliced into coins – 2 bunches of greens  stemmed and finely chopped – 1/2 bunch of spinach, finely chopped – 1/4 C of split peas – 4 tbsp of canola oil – 1 large tomato, chopped – 3 dried chiles de arbol (or 1 tsp red pepper flakes) – 1 onion, minced – 1 carrot, minced – 1 large tomato, chopped – 1 tsp of ground coriander – 1 tsp of 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 tsp of kosher salt

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.

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.