Aloo Palak

If I’m being totally honest with you, readers, I woke up this morning thinking that I would try to make Giada DeLaurentis’s Sausage, Peppers and Onions.  Then, I noticed that I had a giant bag of spinach in the fridge that I bought to make a salad.  I never made the salad.  Apparently, in Chile, spinach only comes in extreme bulk and looking at the spinach I realized that it was not long for this world so I thought “Well, I should use this spinach.”

this spinach.

From there I Googled “spinach recipes” to be confronted mostly with spinach and artichoke dip recipes and as much as I love the stuff I was looking for something a little healthier and more along the lines of a meal.  I came across a recipe for Aloo Palak, an Indian dish with spinach and potatoes that I’ve enjoyed before and thought it sounded splendid.  So, I wrote out a grocery list with the ingredients for both the sausage and peppers and the aloo palak thinking that I would make one today and one tomorrow.

The thing about sausage and peppers is that it requires peppers, so naturally I put “2 red bell peppers” on my grocery list and then promptly and completely overlooked and forgot about that ingredient (this is while I’m actually thinking “I can’t wait to make sausage and peppers!) and didn’t manage to buy them.  There was even a fruit and veggie stand on my walk home but they were sadly lacking in peppers.

Here is the point.  Today, I made aloo palak.  I’ll make the sausage and peppers this weekend.

Wasn’t that interesting???

Okay, so the recipe I found actually contained some spices that I’ve never seen in Chile and that they definitely didn’t have at my local little grocery store.  So instead of turmeric, coriander and garam masala I used some other familiar Indian flavors, namely cardamom and curry powder.  It actually turned out really great, but I’ll post the real recipe as well as my replacements if you have access to those particular spices.

Here we go:

2 large handfuls of fresh spinach (this isn’t super exact but when the spinach cooks down it needs to measure a little more than a cup)

3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 inch fresh ginger, roughly chopped

2 onions, diced

1-2 green chiles, chopped with seeds

2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes

1 tsp turmeric (I used cardamom)

4 tbl butter

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp garam masala (I used curry powder)

1 tsp cumin

Sour cream to taste

Salt

Oil

First, cook the spinach, garlic, ginger, chiles and onion in a pan with a little water and a little oil for about 5-10 minutes until the spinach is a deep, bright green and the other ingredients are soft.  Remove all ingredients from the pan and puree until very smooth.  I used a hand mixer and it worked wonderfully with hardly any mess.  I have a hand mixer, who knew?  Set the puree aside.

Boil the potatoes with a pinch of salt and the cardamom until soft, about 10 minutes at a full boil.  Drain and set aside.

In a large frying pan heat up the butter, cumin seeds and puree.  Bring to a simmer and let it cook for a few minutes.  Add the potatoes, cumin and curry powder and stir.  Cook for about five more minutes, allowing the potatoes to soak up all the flavors.  You can add a little water if the mixture is too thick.

Serve with sour cream.

I served mine with some white rice steamed in water with a chicken bouillon cube.  The bouillon spices the rice up a little bit.  You can also serve it with naan, which is a flat Indian bread.  This dish is filling and totally vegetarian.  And super delicious.

aaaw yeah.

See you soon for sausage and peppers!

(Original recipe found here: http://www.food.com/recipe/aloo-palak-indian-potatoes-spinach-108787)

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Perfectly roasted potatoes

One of my favorite side dishes to make is roasted potatoes.  It is great for barbecues, dinners or even breakfasts.  They’re delicious and really easy to make.  In other words, I’m mostly posting this dish because I was too lazy to make something more complex this weekend.  But no, really, they’re tasty.

Ingredients:

4 large potatoes (you can use any kind of potato, I like to use red skinned potatoes.)

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup of olive oil

2 tsp black pepper

2 tsp salt

2 tsp chili flakes

First, cut the potatoes into 1 inch cubes.  Next, boil a large pot of water.  This is the key to good roasted potatoes.  Add the potatoes to the boiling water and let it reach a boil again.  You need to boil the potatoes for about six minutes.  If you don’t boil the potatoes before you roast them then they will still be hard on the inside even after roasting them for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  After the potatoes have boiled for six minutes drain the water and leave the potatoes in the pot.  Add the oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes and stir to coat all the potatoes.  Put the potatoes into a casserole dish and spread the minced garlic evenly over the potatoes.  Put the dish into the oven.  The potatoes need to cook for 45 minutes to an hour and you need to stir the potatoes every seven minutes or so to make sure they roast evenly.  When you’re done, they’ll look like this:

Hooray!  Happy Sunday!