Deceptively simple, bengali prawn saag is packed with heaps of flavour and plenty of nutrients. A great alternative to a meat protein dish, prawns are low in saturated fat while spinach is rich in iron and folic acid. Adding some mustard greens such as kale or collared greens will add another dimension to the dish, but if you don’t have any on hand, a bit of mustard seed should also do the trick. Homemade peshawari and plain naan is a perfect vehicle for scooping up the delicious curry, just be sure to wash it all down with a cold beer.
Prawn Saag (Serves 4)
400 g raw, peeled prawns, deveined
500 g spinach, washed
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder, or 1 fresh chilli, deseeded and chopped
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
thumb sized piece of ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, made into a paste w/salt
1 large white onion, small dice
4 tomatoes on the vine, concasse, plus the juice from the deseeded tomatoes (or
2 large handfuls of coriander, chopped, plus more for garnish
*For extra flavour, marinate the prawns in 2 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp chilli powder, 1 minced garlic clove and a bit of minced ginger for 30-45 min*
- In a large pan, heat up the vegetable oil with the garlic paste and onions and gently fry until golden brown (approx. 2 min). Add the ginger, spices , coriander and tomatoes and cook together for further 1-2 min. Add the juice from the deseeded tomatoes (or a few splashes of water) and combine to form a paste.
- Add the prawns to the pan and cook in the spices until they begin to turn white (approx. 1-2 min).
- Add the spinach and simmer together until the curry has thickened and the flavours amalgamated (approx. 10 min). Add in a bit more chopped coriander and stir well before serving.
Naan Bread (Makes 8-10)
*For Peshwari naan filling*
2 tbl desiccated coconut
1 tbl sugar
200 g ground almonds
3 tbl cream
- In a small bowl, mix together the yeast, sugar and 3 tbl of warm water. Let it sit until it becomes frothy (approx. 15 min). Then add the yogurt to the mixture and stir to combine.
- Sift together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well and pour in the yeast and yogurt mixture and the melted ghee (or butter). Mix, gradually adding the warm water or milk until a soft, sticky dough develops.
- Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth (approx. 3-5 min) and form a ball. Place the dough ball in a large, lightly oiled mixing bowl, cover and let proof until doubled in size (1 1/2- 2 hrs).
- If making peshawari naan, prepare the filling:
Combine the ingredients in a food processor or pestle and mortar into a paste. Knead into a pliable dough, wrap in plastic wrap and set aside.
- When proofed, knock the air out of the naan dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into 8-10 balls. Flatten the balls and roll into a flat circle, stretch it slightly on one side to create a tear-drop shape. * If preparing peshawari, make a shallow hole in each dough ball and place a small amount of peshawari filling inside. Wrap the dough around the filling and flatten and roll as above.
- Heat up a non-stick frying pan and set the oven on low. Place the flattened disc in the hot pan and fry until it begins to bubble, turn over and cook until browned in spots. Turn in back over to finish cooking for another 20 seconds. *N.B.: be careful with the heat of your pan, as you can see from the pictures, my pan was a bit too hot!
- Brush the cooked naan with the melted ghee or butter and place in a low oven until all have been prepared.