SAAG GOSHT (SPINACH
Winter seems to have hit Cape Town
with a vengeance. It’s icy cold and perfect
weather to start digging out those winter recipes.
Saag gosht is a delicious North Indian spinach and
lamb dish – a favorite at Bukhara, but very
easy to make at home for a fraction of the price -
and guaranteed to warm up the bones on a chilly winter
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1-1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 tablespoons oil
1 kg lamb cut into cubes. Remove excess fat, or all
fat if possible.
4 onions, finely chopped
4 cardamom pods
3 pieces of stick cinnamon
8 black peppercorns
4 bay leaves or better still cassia leaves
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
6 cm piece ginger, grated
4 garlic cloves, crushed
190 ml (approx. 1 cup) thick natural yoghurt
500 g spinach, roughly chopped
1 ½ cups of water
Salt to taste ( about a heaped teaspoon)
Roast the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry pan on
medium heat until the aroma rises. Heat the oil in
a thick-based pot over low heat and fry a few pieces
of meat at a time until browned. Remove from the pan.
Add more oil to the pan, if necessary, and fry the
onion, cloves, cardamom pods, stick cinnamon, black
peppercorns, and bay leaves until the onion is slightly
browned. Add the cumin and coriander, garam masala,
turmeric, and paprika and fry for about a minute.
Add the meat, ginger, garlic, yoghurt, and water and
bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover
and cook for 1-1/2-2 hours, or until the meat is very
tender. At this stage, most of the water should have
evaporated, if it hasn't, remove the lid, increase
the heat and cook until the moisture has evaporated.
Season with salt to taste.
Cook the spinach briefly in a little simmering water
until it is just wilted, then refresh in cold water.
Drain thoroughly, then finely chop. Squeeze out any
Add the spinach to the lamb and cook for 10 minutes,
or until the spinach and lamb are well mixed and any
extra liquid has evaporated.
Best served with roti or naan, but
can be served with white or basmati rice.