Thursday, 8 October 2009

Sag aloo

There was a bag of spinach in my veg box this week: normally I'm a spinach purist, cooking it down and adding a dusting of nutmeg and some butter. But I'd got some left-over egg and tomato curry, lemon rice and coconut chutney, so I had a hunt among the bookshelves for ideas. Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey came up trumps with a recipe from Bangladesh. I've adapted it a bit, partly because my spinach was definitely the grown-up kind that needed a brief cook before being added to the dish. The mustard notes are very Bengali.
Sag aloo (based on a Rick Stein recipe from Far Eastern Odyssey)

A good glug of mustard oil, or any light oil you have to hand
2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
a knob of ginger, grated
1 green chilli, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 dried Kashmiri chilli
5 floury potatoes, cut into small chunks
1 leek, finely chopped
1 bag of spinach - or two good handfuls
1/2 tsp garam masala

If your spinach is mature, wash it then cook it briefly in only the remains of the washing water. Remove from the heat as soon as it's wilted down. Add the glug of mustard to a pan, then add the mustard seeds when it's smoking. Clamp on a lid to avoid the risk of being pelted with popping seeds. When the popping has stopped, add the cumin seeds a cook for a minute. Then add the garlic, ginger and chopped green chilli and cook for two minutes. Now add the turmeric and the Kashmiri chilli, followed by the potato chunks. Add about half a wine glass full of water - you don't want much - and a teaspoon full of salt.
Cook gently for around 15 minutes, shaking the pan every now and again to stop the potatoes sticking. Add a bit more water if you need to. Add the chopped leek, and when the pots are nicely soft, add the spinach and heat it through.
Turn off the heat, add the garam masala and gently stir it in.
This turned out very well, and provided a great lunchbox meal too.


Dan said...

That looks great Fran, epecially liking the way you've laid all the spices needed to hand.

fran39 said...

That's my lovely indian spice box, Dan - a great way to store spices if you use them a lot.