What do I do with this Spinach?

Aargh, I hate it when the break between posts become longer than I like – not that there weren’t any experiments in my kitchen since the last post. I must have done about four of them but did not have the time to capture pictures or jot down some notes. So note to self – be more organized!

 

This time I had a unique challenge to deal with – a lot of spinach left in the fridge that I got from Costco a few weeks back which would go bad if I did not do something about. If you grew up like me, watching sitcoms on Doordarshan, this would remind you of Anant Mahadevan in a Sai Paranjpe show from late 80’s which I think was called ‘Choti Badi Baatein’.

 

Let’s quickly look at the options I had – Dal Palak but that would mean I need a lot of Dal if I want to use up all the spinach I had. I could make Palak Paneer but I was out of Paneer. I could make plain Palak Sabji but I also wanted the dish to have a kick! I wish I could have made Palak Pakoda but unfortunately it was not that time of the day where I could have just had a snack.

 

So considering what I had in the pantry or rather what I did not have in the pantry, I decided to make a spinach curry with some cream and mint. You can consider  this dish as Palak Paneer without Paneer 🙂
Simple Spinach Curry
Here are the ingredients I used:
  • A little over half pound of baby spinach, equivalent to about 5 bunches of spinach, blanched and kept aside
  • About 5 sprigs of Mint
  • One medium sized Onion, chopped
  • Two medium sized Tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Red Chillies
  • Half a tsp of Red Chilli powder
  • 2 tsp of Oil
  • 1 tsp of Ghee
  • 2 sticks of Cinnamon, 6 cloves and 4 cardamoms ground into a fine powder (I could have used 2 tsp of Garam Masala instead)
  • a pinch of Turmeric
  • 2 tsp of Cream
  • 1 tsp of Mustard Seed
  • 1 tsp of Cumin Seed
  • 1 tsp of Shahi Jeera (this is optional)
  • 1 tsp of Ginger-Garlic paste
  • Salt to taste

 

 

I followed the procedure below which involves two steps where you first cook the spinach in the masalas and then you temper it to give it a creamy taste and texture:

  • In a large sized pan, heat the oil at medium high for a couple of minutes and then add the Mustard and Cumin seeds.
  • Once the seeds begin to pop and crackle, add the chopped onions. Add about a teaspoon of salt after a couple of minutes which will help bring the moisture out of the onions. Saute until the onions become light golden brown in color.
  • Add a pinch of turmeric, mix and then add the Ginger-Garlic paste. Saute until the raw smell goes away but make sure the onions do not become too brown.
  • Add the tomatoes to the mixture along with the chilli powder and the ground spices. Saute until you see the oil separating out.
  • Transfer the blanched spinach into the pan, mix, put the lid on and let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Make sure you mix the contents of the pan every few minutes
  • In an other pan, heat the ghee at medium heat and throw in the Shahi Jeera.
  • Once the Shahi Jeera starts spluttering, add the red chillies.
  • Transfer the cooked Spinach from the other pan. You can expect a lot of spluttering and smoke at this point so be careful.
  • Continue to mix every few minutes and add Mint leaves after about 5 minutes. Put the lid on and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Now add the cream, mix well and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. If required, add water for the consistency you want and salt to taste.
  • You can shut off the stove and put the pan aside once the curry reaches the consistency you want.

A few things to keep in mind – the greens reduce after cooking so make sure you adjust the quantity of spinach accordingly. Add the cream one teaspoon at a time and tasting in between so that you ensure you like the amount of cream in the curry. You could also add fenugreek leaves and also add more Mint leaves as per your taste.

I kept it simple by serving this with phulkas but you could serve it with plain rice or even with jeera rice or a pulao.

And if you have kids who do not eat enough greens, this is an opportunity for you to introduce them to Popeye and make them eat greens! 🙂