Last evening, I got such an itch to make Indian - chicken tikka masala and saag palak with a big bowl of rice to help sooth the hot spiciness of the spices and peppers. It was sooo good - and it felt good to get off my duff and put energy into cooking a good meal after sloughing the afternoon away on the couch with my book - The Burning Times .
Consequently, today there is leftover saag palak and chicken. Silent Bob loved the chicken and was 'meh' on the spinach, but I love both - and since I also love Silent Bob, I'll leave him the chicken for his lunch and I will have a big bowl of warm rice with the Indian spinach (saag) on the side. The spinach color has faded over night and the colors of the turmeric and cumin have taken over, which means the spice flavors will be even more amazing ... but it still looks gloppy.
An aside: Sometimes, leftovers are just that ... leftovers. They sit like Eeyore the donkey just waiting for attention. When you drag them out of the fridge and give them a new incarnation, they are soooo grateful. Can't you just hear that bowl of saag muttering, "Thanks for noticing me." ?
My saag palak recipe came from a website I found a while ago, when researching Indian cuisine ... there are a lot of sites dedicated to Indian cuisine out there. This one covers many international dishes and is called whats4eats. Last week, I found the recipe changed up a bit on Shu Han's blog, Mummy, I can cook! . Her rendition looked amazingly good, so the idea of playing with both recipes a bit worked for me. Of course, I didn't have everything the recipe called for so ... I substituted powdered ginger for the ginger root (I bet the ginger root would have been much better, but hey ...) What a creamy, smooth, spicy pile of spinach I made! I love it! Thank-you, Shu Han!
A word about the rice ... tell me if you've ever done this with rice. This restaurant that SB and I frequented when we lived in North Carolina served steamed basmati rice with a dollop of butter and a generous pinch of caraway seed . The caraway gives the rice a wonderful herb-y flavor and the butter, well butter is just heaven on rice.
1 lb. fresh spinach leaves, washed and spun out in a salad spinner
1st tbsp. ghee
1 handful fresh cilantro
2nd tbsp. ghee
1 medium onion, small dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. ginger root, minced
1 green chili pepper, minced seeds and all (I use jalapeno peppers)
2 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. cumin
½ c. plain yogurt (I use Stoneyfield)
¼ c. light creamkosher salt
fresh lemon juice
3rd tbsp. ghee for drizzling
Making the Dish:
1. Heat a large deep non-stick pan, add the first tablespoon of ghee and the spinach.
2. Toss to coat and wilt the spinach. Cover and steam for a few minutes.
3. When the spinach is wilted, but still has some form, slide it into a deep bowl and add the cilantro. Use a hand blender to puree the greens and set them aside for a few minutes.
4. In the same pan, add a second tbsp of ghee, and sauté the onion, garlic, ginger, and pepper until they are semi-soft.
5. Add the spices and stir them to form a paste of aromatics.
6. Fold in the spinach and continue folding to completely incorporate the spices throughout the spinach.
7. Remove from the heat, and cool just a bit.
8. Fold in the yogurt and cream, drizzle with a squirt of fresh lemon juice, and add kosher salt to taste.
9. Drizzle with one last tbsp. of ghee and serve with hot naan bread or with rice and an entrée dish.
Serves 4 … or 2 spinach fanatics