Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Indian Spinach and Potatoes with Garlic & Fennel

Rocket & Roses HQ Play List:

Kyung Wha Chung: Sibelius: Violin Concerto
Calvin Harris ft Ellie Goulding ~ I Need Your Love 
Norah Jones ~ Creepin' In
Calvin Harris ft Florence Welch ~ Sweet Nothing 
Court Yard Hounds ~ I Miss You 
Norah Jones ~ The Long Day Is Over 
Jennifer Lopez ~ I'm Gonna Be Alright 
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band ~ (Long) Gone
KT Tunstall ~ Another Place To Fall
Bob Marley ~ Brand New Second 
Stone Temple Pilots ~ Vasoline
JET ~ She's A Genius
Jack Johnson ~ Banana Pancakes 
Jewel ~ Jupiter

There is something special about cold winter days...well for me anyway..and a pan of something warm and spicy bubbling away on your stove top. Yesterday I had the pleasure of the company of my friend Ann for a few hours and she was dropping off the four legged fella for me. She was also staying for lunch and I decided to make something from one of my favourite cookbooks, Mridula Baljekar's The Low Fat Indian Vegetarian Cookbook. Ann is a big fan of the Indian cuisine so I knew she would enjoy it. The recipes are easily veganised and most are naturally vegan anyway so it's all good.

I decided to go with an old favourite which I have made many times over the years. It has simple ingredients and big's also quite light for a potato based dish and perfect for lunch. I served Ann's with a side of Chapati's as Mridula suggests, however, I didn't partake as they aren't GF, eh?

I'm not the biggest fan of cooked spinach and I usually prefer to get my spinach quota in by having it raw in salads or in smoothies. Oh and blitzed in soups like Lentil & Spinach Soup. And if I do have it cooked it has to be chopped to small pieces..if there is a hint of stringiness...I'm outta there. lol. I struggle with frozen spinach for this very reason. And if anyone mentions creamed spinach to me...well..nope..let's just not go there! However this recipe is cooked spinach and I love it. Hey, I am contrary...I own it. lol. Mridula instructs you to finely chop the fresh spinach and that is just fine with me as I find the chopping relaxing and I can be reassured there will be no strings of nasty after I have finished the spinach massacre. lol. And the cooking of this recipe is not hard work..and the results are a intensely comforting. The spinach sauce is silky and packed with spice and melts in your mouth. The potatoes are perfectly cooked and give you the extra level of comfort without filling you up too much. Scooped up into hot chapatis it makes for one seriously enjoyable taste of India. 

Even with my spinach issues I love this dish so if you are on the fence over the green stuff...try this may make the difference...

Indian Spinach & Potatoes with Garlic & Fennel

Indian Spinach & Potatoes with Garlic & Fennel        Serves 4
(Recipe from The Low Fat Indian Vegetarian Cookbook/Baljekar)

370g/13oz/2 2/3 cups old potatoes, peeled, cut into 5cm/2" cubes
3 tbsp sunflower oil or olive oil ( I used 1 tbsp)
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds 
1/2 tsp fennel seeds 
1/4 - 1/2 tsp crushed chilli seeds 
8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 
1 onion, finely sliced
1/2 tsp ground fennel 
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric   
275g/10oz/5 cups of spinach, finely chopped
1 tsp salt or to taste
150g/5oz/ 2/3 cup canned chopped tomatoes, including juice
1/2 tsp garam masala 
1 tbsp tomato paste

Boil/Steam the potatoes until tender but still firm. Then set aside. 

Meanwhile heat the oil in a saute pan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the mustard seeds. As soon as they pop, add the fennel seeds, crushed chilli seeds and garlic. Stir fry for 30 seconds. 

Add the onion and stir fry for 4-5 minutes or until soft and just beginning to colour. 

Add the ground fennel , cumin and turmeric, and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the spinach and salt, and stir fry for 3 minutes, until the spinach has shrunk to half of the original size. 

Add the tomatoes, potatoes, garam masala and tomato paste. Increase the heat to high and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently, then remove from the heat and serve with chapatis. 


Thanks for stopping by and I hope your Wednesday has been very good for you...


NB: This is not my recipe and therefore I take no credit whatsoever for it's creation. It is the hard work and creative talent of Mridula Baljekar and I thank her for creating such a great cookbook. ~R~