Savor The Earth

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The Green Greenie—(don’t) Throwaway Puree December 25, 2009

Filed under: Indian,pressure cooker,thrift,vegetables,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 4:16 pm

sak it to me!

About the only food I won’t reuse around here is a dead guppy (What’s up with that, Santa?).  Actually the kindergartner is saving the carcass to take to the Austin Nature and Science Center‘s trade counter.  I hope he doesn’t forget, cause I’m not cookin’ it!

Come to think of it, I don’t make a salad out of banana peels either (like they do in Laos).  And I eat far too much citrus to freeze or candy all that zest and peel.  But I will not throwaway greens unless unfortunate circumstances have allowed them to languish beyond flaccidity.  Smoothly combined with the ever-versatile broccoli stems I accumulate, assorted winter vegetable tops yield a nutritious and nummy Indian-spiced puree to stir into rice or scoop at with pappadams, tortilla chips (we love El Milagro unsalted) or crostini.

Get out your 6-quart pressure cooker for this dish.  Pressurized steaming produces a more evenly cooked potful more quickly than conventional steaming.


  • lots of assorted greens.  My last batch included the tops of kohlrabi, carrots, beets and turnipsWash them very well (nobody likes gritty greens) and trim the leaves off the stemsYou need enough to nearly pack up your pressure cooker (with a steamer insert).
  • 2 large or 3 or 4 smaller broccoli stems, peeled ruthlessly and diced
  • a couple small to medium potatoes, organic and/or local (very hard to find local right now, but you might get lucky), diced.  I don’t peel spuds for this dish (or almost any other).
  • a couple of thin slices—“coins” as Barbara Tropp would say—fresh ginger root.  I almost never peel ginger.  You decide.  If you’re out of the fresh stuff (it happens), you can use a ½ teaspoon or so of dried ground ginger.
  • a couple cloves of garlic, peeled
  • heaping ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt.  I like Diamond Crystal.
  • 2 or 3 Tablespoons ghee.  See my simple instructions.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • onion slices from ½ or more of a medium or larger local onion—still available at our farmers markets!
  • local hot chiles, 1 to 4, to taste, whole or chopped, as desired
  • 1 teapsoon garam masala.  Click for a recipe.
  • 3 Tablespoons organic or local (Promised Land) heavy cream.  Organic Valley is great.  Click for a coupon.
  • lemon wedges—local backyard lemons are readily available at the farmers markets, and maybe even your own neighborhood, right now.

Pour about ½ cup water into your cooker and place a steamer basket inside.  Pack in the greens, leaving some room for the broccoli and potato.  On top of that lay your ginger slices and garlic, then sprinkle with the ground spices and salt.  Bring to high pressure over high heat, then lower the heat to just maintain the pressure and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let the pressure go down for 10 minutes before releasing the quick-release pressure mechanism before lifting off the lid.  Stand back from the steam!

In 2 batches, puree the greens in a food processor with the cooking water.

Heat up your ghee in a large (12″) skillet and add the cumin seeds.  Toast the cumin to your taste, then toss in the onion slices and whole chiles.  Stir and cook until the onion is well-browned, adding chopped chiles about halfway through, if using, then add the pureed greens.  Stir and cook, scraping the pan frequently, until the puree thickens and dries to the point of pulling away from the sides of the pan.  Stir in the garam masala and cream, correct the salt if necessary, and serve.  Squeeze a little lemon juice over your helping if you wanna.



  • 6 ounces paneer, cubed.  You can also use extra-firm tofu–not the least bit traditional in India, but increasing in popularity there as elsewhere.

Brown the paneer or tofu cubes on all sides in ghee.  Cook the pureed sak just enough to heat through before blending in the garam masala and cream—you want a little looser texture.  Gently fold your cubes into the Sak and adjust the salt.