Monday, 14 May 2012

Palak Alu (Saag Aloo)

Here is a meeting of the old and the new. Our potatoes are starting to get distinctly sprouty - quite a number have hit the compost pile in fact - and most of you will find spinach just starting to be available, although ours is rapidly running to seed and needs to be eaten up. We have leeks in our garden still too, although you are much more likely to find onions at the store than leeks. Still, there may be a few at farmers markets. 

The potatoes were the Pink Fir Apple which have really stored extremely well - the best storage potato we have grown yet, closely followed by the good old Russet Burbank. When I say 4 servings, I assume you will serve this with some naan or paratha, or rice at least, and maybe some other protein dish. As ever, I didn't do that and the two of us ate all of it.

This is a versatile recipe. Other greens are quite possible, such as chard or kale, and using yogurt versus tomato yields fairly different results.

4 servings
1 hour prep time

Prepare the Spices:
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon green cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat a dry skillet and toast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns and cardamom until fragrant but barely browned. Remove them at once to a plate to cool, then grind them finely. Mix them with the remaining spices and set aside.

Make the Palak Alu:
300 grams spinach
500 grams potatoes
1 large leek or 2 medium onions
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
1/2 cup yogurt OR crushed tomatoes

Wash the spinach and pick it over. Rinse it well again, and set it aside to drain. Wash the potatoes, cut them into chunks and put them in a pot with water to cover. Bring them to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Drain well. They should be almost done and still quite firm, so drain them sooner if they are getting too soft.

Meanwhile, wash, trim, and chop the leek, and rinse it again and drain well, or peel and chop the onions. Peel and mince the garlic, and the ginger. Shred the spinach fairly finely.

When the potatoes are just about ready, put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet to heat. Drain the potatoes well and add them to the oil. Cook until well browned, turning regularly. Add the leek or onion, and let cook, turning regularly, until softened and slightly browned. Add the ginger and garlic, and cook for a minute more. Add the spices and mix in well. If the spices seem too dry, add the remaining tablespoon of oil.

Once the spices are well amalgamated, start adding the spinach in handfuls, adding more as it wilts and makes room in the pan. Once it is all in and sufficiently cooked, mix in the yogurt or tomatoes, and let the mixture simmer gently until it seems ready - for me, just a few minutes. Stir regularly as needed.

Last year at this time I made Pasta with Spring Spinach Pesto.

1 comment:

The Old-Fashioned Housewife said...

Mmm... I love indian food and this looks fabulous.. i will have to make this this week, thanks!