Monday, February 15, 2010

CSA week 11 - Aloo palak

So my third thought for using the spinach and potato together was an Indian curry. There are lots of recipes for aloo palak out there, but almost all are basically the same: shred some spinach and cube some potatoes, put them in a pot with a little water and cook until done. Yeah, 15 minutes of cooking will turn spinach into a sauce of sorts, but that's an awful thing to do to an innocent vegetable. Better to take another approach that I've seen in Indian recipes--cook the elements separately and then combine them just before serving.

1/2 onion, chopped
1 mild green chili, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed (garlic is rare in the recipes I saw, but I included it anyway)
1-inch knob ginger, crushed
1 large bunch spinach, roughly chopped

4 medium new potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 Tablespoon ghee (or failing that, butter)
whole cumin
ground coriander

cilantro, chopped
tomato, chopped

1. Add onion, chili, garlic and ginger to a medium pot along with a quarter cup of water. Simmer over medium heat a few minutes until onion and pepper soften. Add the spinach in batch, adding more as previous batches wilt to make room in the pot. When all of the spinach is cooked, pour everything into a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

2. Return the pot to the heat, add the potatoes, water to cover, generous salt and a bit more turmeric than you think you need (since most of both the salt and turmeric will stay in the water). Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, around 10 minutes maybe. Drain potatoes in a colander.

3. Return pot to heat, turn heat back up to medium and add ghee. When it finishes sizzling add a few dashes of cumin seed. Cook briefly until it becomes fragrant and add spinach. Add coriander and salt to taste and a little cream if needed to loosen the sauce. Then add the potato. Stir to combine and heat through.

4. Serve with rice and/or Indian bread, garnished with cilantro, tomato a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of cream.

Pretty good. It's just spinach and potatoes so it's not spectacular, but both flavors are brought out well so: pretty good. The garlic, ginger and spices add a bit of interest but don't overwhelm the basic flavors. It could use a little acid, but I left my last lemon at work to fix up my ice cream. Maybe a little white vinegar...yeah, that's not bad. The sauce is creamy (cream will do that) and the potatoes soft. Not a whole lot of textural interest; I should have pulled the potatoes out a minute or two earlier.

The dish isn't entirely satisfying. Some paneer wouldn't have hurt. Or maybe a second dish with some contrasting flavors. A fine side component of a meal, let's say.

1 comment:

kat said...

Yeah I can see adding some paneer making a nice difference to this