Saag Khumb (Indian Sautéed Greens with Mushrooms)

This dish offers the opportunity to cook up volumes of most any green you have on hand. Traditionally saag implies a mix with spinach or mustard greens, but the pile we cooked up today included arugula, kale, collards and broccoli as well as spinach (it was time to clear out the overflowing crisper drawer). You could throw in chard or even cauliflower or broccoli leaves. Serve with naan (pictured above) or other flat Indian bread. I love saag with nutty brown basmati rice, too.

(Serves 6)


  • Mild olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 star anise (optional)
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 jalapeno or other chili, chopped finely (optional)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger root
  • 5 cups roughly chopped mixed greens (see headnote)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • Large handful cilantro, chopped
  • 3 cups button mushrooms cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

A mix of arugula, spinach, broccoli, collards and kale found their way into this saag.


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons oil. Add spices from coriander through turmeric and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add pepper, onion and ginger and cook until onion is very soft and starting to brown, about 5-8 minutes. Add greens to pan and one-half cup water. Stir and cook until greens are wilted and cooked through (about 5-10 minutes depending on the mix), seasoning with salt about halfway through cooking (at that time also add the cilantro). Remove the star anise and cinnamon stick from the pan (and cardamom is you can find). Coarsely grind greens with a handheld immersion blender or leave as is.
  2. In another skillet, heat a small amount of oil. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms have released their moisture and have browned on one side. Add to the pan with greens and up to three-quarters of a cup of water to moisten (to desired consistency). Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt, if using, and lemon juice. Taste and add more salt as needed.
  3. Serve with naan or rice.
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