I decided it was finally time to post a somewhat healthy recipe now that we’re in the second week of the new year. Greens are always healthy, and we’re told at every turn that we need to eat more of them.
I like green leafy vegetables, but I cannot seem to eat them all the time and my biggest challenge is trying to fix them in different ways. There has got to be more ways than just sautéed greens with garlic.
We eat a lot kale and usually, I like to bake kale chips first and then use them crumbled on top of soups and stews. I find baked kale chips texture more appealing than straight up stewed or sautéed kale.
I like the chard too but can never get creative with them. I’ve curried them before and added them to stews but I’m never inspired. It’s a bit sad really because I see mountains of them in the farmers markets during spring and even the shops have decent bundles. The fresh, young spring greens are easy, because to preserve the flavour of the young tender leaves, we eat them in spring mix salads or toss them gently and stir fry. But then I lose interest. Every year, I promise I’m going to get inspired!
I probably use spinach the most as far as greens go. It’s easy to have a box of baby spinach leaves in the fridge and they get tossed in smoothies, stir fries, salads and stews. One of my children’s favourite spinach dish is the Indian palak paneer; the creamy cheese spinach curry.
One of my favourites is the very simply prepared, lightly spiced, Spinach and Potato Curry, also known as, Palak Aloo. I hadn’t made this for a while and happened to have a box of baby spinach leaves that needed to be used up quickly.
I didn’t want it too heavily spiced and wanted the fresh spinach taste to come through. I also love how the potatoes soak up all the slightly bitter and spicy cooking liquid. It had been a long time since I had made it and after enjoying it for dinner, wondered why I had forgotten to make it in so long.
It is really good, and though some people traditionally eat it a lot drier, we like ours a little more runny so the delicious juices soak into the rice. The choice is yours, just let the curry cook longer allowing the juices to evaporate. I don’t like the spinach to cook too long. As soon as it’s wilted and a little bit of the water has evaporated, I pull it off the heat. This a way, the spinach still retains it’s goodness and is a vibrant green. Frozen spinach can be used with great success but this particular curry has a totally different taste with fresh spinach so I recommend using fresh leaves.
Sometimes I add a few dried fenugreek leaves. If you haven’t tried this green, it is widely used in Indian cooking and has a pleasant bitter taste. I absolutely love the fresh leaves but they are not always easily available. Many Indian cooks keep dried leaves to add as a herb or spice. I feel the dried fenugreek leaves enhance spinach’s bitter qualities in a pleasant way. It’s also adds more depth to the dish but on days I just want to taste the fresh spinach, I leave it out. I have it as an optional ingredient if you’d like to try it.
- 1lb/16oz/455g fresh spinach, washed, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 2 large potatoes, medium dice
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 green chilli
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
- 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
- 1 teaspoon coriander, ground
- ½ teaspoon cayenne/red chilli powder
- 2 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
- 2 cups/470ml water, enough to cover potatoes to cook
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup/60ml oil, coconut, avocado or other neutral flavoured
- In a large pot, heat the oil on medium heat and brown the onions.
- Once the onions are lightly browned, add the garlic and ginger paste and cook for a minute until fragrant.
- Add the potatoes and toss in the oil and onions.
- Add the turmeric powder, ground cumin, ground coriander and red cayenne powder.
- Mix through into the potatoes.
- Allow the potatoes to sauté for about 5 minutes.
- Add enough water to cover the potatoes, cover and let potatoes cook, about 10-15 minutes.
- Once the potatoes are just tender, making sure there isn't too much water, add the spinach leaves and cover to allow spinach to wilt.
- The spinach leaves will release some water so you don't want too much water in the pan before adding the spinach, about a cup and half of water is acceptable.
- Once the spinach has cooked down and beginning to get tender, uncover and evaporate some, of the water.
- Add the green chilli and the fenugreek leaves, if using.
- Check for salt and adjust.
- How dry you want the curry is up to you.
- Since my children like rice with theirs, I keep it a bit fluid as you can see in the photos.
- If you like the curry drier, then add the spinach leaves when there is barely any water left after the potatoes are done.
- Serve as a side with rice or bread.
How about you all? Do you get inspired by greens or is there anything that challenges you guys? Another one of my challenges is artichokes. I can’t get them right 🙁
Enjoy your weekend everyone!! Happy cooking 🙂