Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Aloo Paalak: Potato and Spinach Curry

While I was preparing dinner last night, I reminisced fondly how my grandmother would always scold me over the mess I made in the kitchen while I cooked.

According to her, I used too many utensils due to my constant need to measure things precisely and, in doing so, cluttered up her kitchen. I've improved only slightly over the years and so she wouldn't be too impressed if she were to see me now!

She lived with us while I was growing up, and the kitchen was her personal territory. Her repertoire was limited to very basic, every day food but the amount of love and attention she paid to its preparation belied the simplicity of her meals. 

Aloo Paalak is one dish that she makes extremely well. It is a very simple one to prepare but regardless of how many times I've made it; I still can't get it to taste like my grandmothers version. I'm not saying it's not good - it just doesn't taste like hers.

Lately I miss her immensely and don't know when I will be seeing her next so for now, Aloo Paalak mingled with comforting memories will have to do. 

Here's the recipe: 

Aloo Paalak
Spinach, 1 kg
Potatoes 2 medium, peeled and diced
Onions, 3 medium, thinly sliced
Tomatoes, 2 medium
Coriander powder, 1 tbsp
Salt, 1 tsp
Red chili powder, 1/2 tsp
Kasuri Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves), 1 tbsp
1-2 tbsp cooking oil
2-3 green chillies (stems removed) and approx. 2 tbsp chopped, fresh coriander leaves, for garnish

Rinse Spinach well, pat dry and chop. Don't discard the stems - they contain a lot of flavor - chop along with the Spinach leaves.

Fry the sliced onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Add the tomatoes, coriander powder, salt and red chili powder along with a splash of water and stir fry over medium high heat until the tomatoes are pulpy and the oil has separated.

Add chopped spinach, stir fry for a couple of minutes.  Fresh Spinach releases its own water, let it cook in it over medium heat till the water is reduced.  Add approx. 1.5 cup water and simmer for a few minutes till the spinach is tender. Add potatoes, reduce heat, cover and simmer around 15 mins or until the potatoes are cooked (shouldn't be mushy or falling apart). 

Increase heat and stir fry a couple of minutes to dry  any excessive  water. 

Sprinkle the Kasuri Methi and mix well. Throw in the coriander leaves and green chillies, cover and turn off the heat.

Allow the aromas from the coriander leaves and chillies to infuse for a few minutes, serve.


Peanutts said...

your aloo palak looks nice, am sure your gran would be very proud.

Jencrafted said...

Oooh, I love aloo palak! Your recipe and method sound simple; I never tried making this. Always ate at the restaurant or from the box (ready-made). This is making me miss the variety of good ethnic food we can get in California.


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