What’s your favourite vegetable?
Up till quite recently, spinach has been my favourite. Now aubergines are my current favourite, but spinach comes in at a close second.
As cliche as it may sound, spinach is an incredibly versatile vegetable. Cook small amounts of it in curries for a hint of colour, use it as a garnish instead of coriander or mint, sprinkle it over salads, put it into smoothies – there’s so much you can do! I personally adore the more-ish, creamy taste of spinach but it is mild enough to be toned down by, or even compliment, other flavours. My favourite combination with spinach is palak gosht, a curry of lamb and spinach in which the richness of the lamb pairs beautifully with the earthy nuttiness of the spinach. To be honest, I’m such a fan of spinach that I’m no stranger to eating it straight up raw. As a matter of fact, I’ve done this on my way home from University during rush hour on the train… you should try it too! If not for the taste, do it for the funny looks you’ll get. They’re priceless.
My theory as to why I love spinach so much is because I’m anaemic, i.e. low in iron. I used to find myself
madly craving naturally inclined towards iron-rich foods such as red meats and leafy greens without knowing why. I’m still naturally inclined towards those food, but now that I know why, it’s just another excuse for me to get more spinach into my system because spinach a good source of iron – just one cup contains 34% of the RDA of iron.
My process of making palak involves making a paste of the onions and spinach. The onions and garlic are first ground by a food processor with the help of a bit of ghee into a thick paste. Then, the spinach follows up with being processed. This serves two purposes:
1. The end result is smoother and doesn’t have lumps of onion or long strings of spinach. I much prefer my palak to be lump-less.
2. It’s less hassle. Less mess to clear up, no dirty chopping boards or knives, no tears from chopping onions, less time in the kitchen… It’s essentially a win/win situation.
Serve this delicious and nutritious dish with hot chapattis – I also love this with parathas cooked in ghee, as my Mother used to do… mmmmmmmmmm.
Another alternative is to serve this as a dip. I think this would go lovely on a platter served with a tomato chutney, plum chutney, hummus, muhammara (roasted red pepper dip), baingan ka bharta (mashed curried aubergine) to serve alongside bread sticks, toasted pita or crackers.
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Enjoy, with love.