Aloo Palak     


DescriptionIndian-aloo-palak
Curry TypeVegetable
StrengthMedium hot
DifficultyModerate
Sourceprem@prem.lbl.gov (Prem!)
VegetarianYes
VeganYes
Time to prepareUnspecified
Time to cookUnspecified
No. of servings3-6
Ingredients1 can (16 oz) chopped Spinach, drained
1/2 pound (2 large-size) potatoes, cut in chunks
1 - 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
1 medium sized onion, sliced into thin strips
2-3 tablespoons water
6 whole black peppercorns, crushed coarsely.
2 cloves of cardamom (elaichi), crushed.
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 clove garlic, crushed.
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small matchsticks.
1 fresh red chili, seeded and finely shredded.
(or pinch of chili powder)
salt

Optional "touches":
some blanched, slivered almonds, cashews.
sliced mushrooms, added with the onions.
for "mughlai" taste, replace cumin powder (jeera) with fennel seeds (saunf)
Instructions1. Soak the potato chunks in a small bowl full of water until you need to use them.

2. Heat ghee/oil in the saucepan on medium-low heat. When oil is hot, reduce heat to low; add the crushed peppercorns, cardamom seeds and almonds/cashews and saute gently for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the chili, ginger, onion and garlic to the saucepan and raise heat to medium. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring lightly to prevent browning or burning.

4. Stir in the spices and salt and mix well. Drain the potato chunks and add them (without the water). Stir vigorously as you turn the heat up, until potatoes are half baked and are covered thoroughly with the rest of the stuff. (you can add a little turmeric too at this point, though it isnt essential).

5. Reduce heat back to medium and add about 2 tablespoons of water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, stirring occassionally.

6. Gently stir in the spinach and simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add a small quantity of water if necessary. Dont add too much water. This is a moist dish, not a liquid one.

7. Cover it. Turn the heat off. Its done.

VARIATIONS:

1. As already mentioned, replace cumin powder with fennel seeds for a mughlai taste.

2. You can add a few fresh green peas to the equation. If you are using fresh or dried peas, soak them accordingly and add early. If youre using frozen peas, you can add them after the potatoes.

3. You can sprinkle a very small pinch of masala towards the end of the process, though I prefer not to, since masala can overpower the other flavours.

4. Squeeze a lemon (or some concentrate) just before serving, or offer a few slices of lemon individually on the side.

5. Add some paneer/feta cheese chunks, or even tofu while sauteing.

6. Puree all or part of the spinach in a blender.

7. If you plan to use this as filling for lasagna, either cut the
potatoes into small pieces or replace them altogether with peas. ˙otatoes into small pieces or replace them altogether with peas.
Notes1. The intensity of heat you use to cook is crucial. So follow the guidelines exactly. When in doubt, be conservative and use low heat, it will just take a few more minutes, thats all.

2. Adding too much water will ruin it.
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