Saturday, November 21, 2009

Going green

This morning, I realized that it is exactly 40 days until the dawn of 2010. Doesn't the year 2010 sound so futuristic somehow? All gleaming spaceships instead of this dusty old planet? To conjure up some excitement for myself, I'm getting started on a mini challenge: I hope to try 40 new recipes by the time the shiny happy new year rolls around. Am I crazy? Can I do it? Watch this space and we'll both discover if I can pull this off.

The countdown begins with a bang: Recipe #40 is Sandeepa's sarson da saag, something I bookmarked just yesterday both for the recipe and for her discussion of the now formalized practice of "unfriending" (read her post to find out more).

I was intrigued to find that instead of the usual mustard greens, she used its cousin broccoli rabe (pic below) to make sarson da saag. This is a flavorful Punjabi dish that makes it to Indian restaurant menus across the globe and as usual, sparks off restaurant envy in me.


My history with broccoli rabe gave me pause. I remember buying it years ago, sauteeing it and making a quick pasta with it, and having to throw the whole thing into the trash because it was too bitter for words. Well, today I gave it a second chance. Using Sandeepa's recipe (given to her by a kind acquaintance), I made sarson da saag that knocked my socks off.

See the original recipe here. Here's how I made the Sarson da Saag:

1. Take ½ large bunch of broccoli rabe. Wash and coarsely chop it to get about 6-8 cups in all (only remove the toughest part of the stems, the rest can be used).

2. Pressure cook the broccoli rabe with 1.5 cups water. 1 whistle worked fine for me.

3. When the cooker is cool enough to open, stir in 1 package frozen spinach and 1 heaped tbsp. besan (chickpea flour) into the cooked broccoli rabe. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture.

4. In another large pan, heat 1 tbsp. oil and fry 2 large chopped onions until brown. Add 1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste and stir for a minute or two.

5. Add salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, all to taste and stir for a few seconds.

6. Add 1 cup tomato puree and fry well for a few minutes.

7. Add the pureed greens, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

8. Add a pinch of garam masala right after you turn off the heat.

I did not have tofu or paneer on hand, so I stirred in a package of mock chicken strips (gluten strips) at the end. Because this was a Saturday night dinner where splurges are allowed, I added a dab of butter and a splash of cream at the very end. This recipe was an unqualified success- we loved the pleasant bitterness of the greens and the warmth of the spices. This made about 6 large servings.

In conclusion, I'm friending you, Broccoli Rabe. As long as you don't get too bitter, I won't dream of unfriending you. txt me, k?

By the way, speaking of buzzwords, going green, the title of this post, is on the list of overused words/phrases that some people want to banish this year.

*** Puppy Update ***

Dale got a very very special gift this Diwali, a red scarf with the prettiest paisley design. He wore it proudly on his walks...

and I think he wants to say something:


Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


  1. Wonderful resolution, 40 days --> 40 new recipes :)
    From my end I'm sure to visit this space atleast 40 times till new year dawns !

  2. Nice! I like broccoli rabe and have used it often as a replacement for mustard greens. You are onto one ambitious yet yummy challenge and am sure you are going to have a lot of fun doing this!

    Dale looks lovely as ever, my woofs to him!

  3. Awesome, crazy and exciting resolution. It would be nice to see a new post everyday..I am trying to guess what dishes you would be posting in the next 39 days.
    Btw tell Dale his scarf is cute :))

  4. Aah! What a great & fantastic idea to try 40 new recipes in upcoming 40 days!!! Yes, yes I feel same about 2010...more futurist and prosperous!:) Sarson da saag --with brocolli rabe?! It sounds so interesting.

  5. Wow! We have something to look forward to till year end then!!!
    Good luck!
    Sarson da saag sounds great, I remember eating this in Pathankot, umm!!! any pictures?

    Dale looks handsome ... as ALWAYS!!!

  6. Being fan of your recipes; I am so looking forward to these 40 recipes.
    I am not much fond of Sarosn ka saag. I think it takes too much of ghee to give a nice taste. Tried 2-3 times using oil but could not like it. :-(

  7. Yikes! 40 recipes before the new year? :) Well, if anyone can do it, Nupur, it's you. As for me, I'm absolutely DELIGHTED that I'm going to have a new recipe to look forward to on your blog every single day! You go girl!

  8. wow! 40 new recipes in 40 days? good luck! i'll be watching this space and wishing i could do a taste session on each of your dishes :)

  9. Will probably not attempt this recipe, but will wait and check this space for the 40 more. Wow! That is some resolve and a nice year ending resolution - quite the opposite of new year resolutions - and therefore likely to succeed.Good Luck

  10. hey Nupur,
    Forgot to mention earlier, tried your Achari Baigan , turned great ! even posted about it :)
    Thanks once again for sahring your lovely recipes :)

  11. Love your end-of-year resolutions Nupur, knowing you, you will certainly pull it off!
    As for Dale, Howdy Cowboy!! He looks so handsome in his scarf.

  12. Wow one new recipe each day...great resolution. am all yours till new year dawn. loved it on Sandeepa's blog and yours too. I will probably make it with paneer or boneless fish.
    All the Best!

  13. I have been looking for a recipe to try out broccoli rabe.. now I found one! thanks :)

  14. good going Nupur, 40 days 40 new recipes bring it on syster !!
    Dale saheb looking very handsome with his red scarf

  15. Good Luck Nupur ! I am sure u can do this :)( Can u feel the glee in my tone, I am gonna read a post everyday from U!! )it's gonna be fun :)

  16. What a good idea. Good luck with your challenge!

  17. I had the similar experience with Broccoli rabe and havent gone back to it yet. So how bitter was the dish on a scale of 1-10, from my previous experience, I thought b.rabe is between 9-10. Recipe sounds very tempting, I'd like to try but only if you say its good enough to try.
    40 new recipes in 40days is going to very interesting. Good luck.

  18. Kanchan- I might club a few recipes together so there might not be quite 40 posts but let's see! Glad the achari baingan worked for you.

    Musical- Some day I'll going to start a new challenge- cooking every home-style Punjabi dish from your blog! :) Dale says woof right back at ya!

    Supriya- I myself am trying to guess what dishes I will be making ;) Dale says thanks :)

    Sonia- Glad you like the idea! One of your recipes is on my list...

    Manasi- No pics, but it looks like the green-brown sludge that saag looks like, what can I say? Tastes MUCH better than it looks! Dale is blushing...

    Bharti- Tastes good too!

    BlueMist- I personally am not a fan of ghee-laden curries so this version works better for me!

    Shammi- I have many events/parties to cook for in the coming month, so there are opportunities for trying new recipes on unsuspecting folks!

    Kamana- They are all new untried untested recipes, are you sure you'd really want to taste them all??!

    radha- 39 more :) this is the 40th.

    Malar Gandhi- I like them in most forms.

    Namita- Thank you so much for the scarf, it looks adorable on him. Red is his color ;)

    Sayantani- Yeah, I'll try the paneer version one of these days.

    PJ- This is how I'll be cooking broccoli rabe from now on!

    Sreelu- Dale says hi :)

    abhi- LOL thanks for the enthusiasm and support!

    maninas- Thanks, I need all the luck I can get to pull this off!

  19. Pavani- You are so right, broccoli rabe can be extremely bitter. I am not sure if this time the vegetable by itself was less bitter than the first time I tried it, or if it was the way of cooking and the presence of other ingredients, but this was so tasty and delightful, bitter only in that "good" way. Do absolutely give it a try, maybe using 1:3 ratio of rabe to spinach the first time around.

  20. Glad you liked it Nupur. It was definitely way less bitter this way.

    Also the one who gave me the recipe told I should use a masher like a thingy, the kind I guess used for mashing pav-bhaji veggies, to mash up the saag, that way there is more texture to it.

    I forgot to mention in my post but since mine was a little liquidy I added a poatao and let it get cooked in the simmering saag and then mashed up the potato in the saag.

  21. Oh and forgot to add, Musy should know that process, the mashing up, ask her what that stuff is called

  22. Great!!
    Looking forward to your posts...
    How did you manage to get that on the picture of Dale ???

  23. Love ur idea of trying 40 new dishes thru the yr end Nupur. I'll be back to check ur updates.

  24. Bong Mom- Thank you (and your friend) for a wonderful recipe, I am so pleased that I have learned to make yet another restaurant-style dish ;) I live for these things!!
    I do have that pav bhaji masher thing but the immersion blender worked well- still retained quite a bit of texture.

    Mahek- I used to edit the image.

    Supriya- thanks!

  25. YAY! 40 new recipes....can't wait!


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