Happy Diwali Everyone! I’m having an amazing time here in India and I hope you are too wherever you are in the world! Unfortunately I’ve spent all day battling a nasty chest infection (diagnosis from Will and I) which according to the NHS there is nothing you can really do about but I had such a good time last night that I don’t really care! 🙂 And no, its not just a bad hangover before you ask! ha!
As Diwali isn’t really over yet I won’t make a post about it quite yet, but instead pick up a thread which I started and haven’t posted about since – FOOD. 🙂 Diwali is a time which, much like Christmas, is absolutely sweets galore and lots of scrumptious objects keep coming to my attention. We went to our friend Sanjay’s last night and to Amit’s the night before, both providing Will and I with some of the best food we’ve ever tasted! But, like I said, I’ve been watching Manju – who is such an awesome cook – and trying to write down what she tells me so that hopefully I can get to that level too! So here is the first of many recipes which I will post, both for my own reference in future and your own. These are especially good for Veggies, but carnivores, I’m sure you could add chicken/mutton if you wanted to! Or for something more filling you could make Aloo Palak (aloo means potato)! Palak (Spinach) has been my favourite so far, so here’s how Manju makes it… Y-U-M!
Manju’s Yummy Palak
- 1 red onion
- 250g Spinach
- 1 small garlic
- 2 tomatoes
- Chilli Powder
- Soyabean Oil (or whatever oil you can get your hands on)
Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes
***Note : This wouldn’t be a proper Indian recipe courtesy of Manju if it didn’t rely strongly on the phrases ‘as you like’ and ‘why money waste?’. Add more or less of each thing depending on your tastes (spicy or mild, chunkier or finer), finances, how many people you’re feeding (this should feed 2 to 3 with chapatis to accompany) and your needs ( a healthy option might be to use the 1 calorie spray available in the UK as oil – don’t like something? then don’t add it!). If you want to add paneer (a type of cheese) in order to make palak paneer, add lots of masala spice too and add chunks of paneer last. If you’re going to add chicken, I suggest frying the chicken first so that its almost cooked and then adding everything else in the order provided! For Aloo Palak I would boil the potatoes seperately and then fry with the rest when you add the spinach! You can also add sweetcorn for more veg ***
Step One: Chop up the onion. After washing the spinach, also chop up into strips.
Two: Take the garlic and crush using a pestle and mortar.
Three: Take a frying pan and add two large tablespoons of oil. Fry the onions until they start to soften.
Three: Add the spinach and toss the onions and spinach together in the oil. Stir and simmer, making sure neither begin to burn.
Four: Add salt and seasoning ‘as you like’. As Manju kindly pointed out ‘you like salt, add more salt, no like salt, no add more salt’.
Five: Add turmeric as you like. I’d suggest two teaspoons. Stir vigorously.
Six: Add Dhanya powder (coriander powder to you and I), two teaspoons once again is probably ample, but you can add more or less as you like.
Seven: Chilli powder time. Once again, two teaspoons is good but if you like your food hot and spicy, add as you see fit!
Eight: Mix all of this, stirring continuously.
Nine: Remember your garlic? Add half a pint of water to your crushed garlic and pour into the simmering mixture.
Nine: Finally chop up your tomatoes and add to the mixture.
Ten: Continue to stir, waiting for the tomatoes to soften and the water and oil to begin to separate. Most of the water will begin to evaporate and the oil will rise to the surface. This is a good sign of when it is beginning to be ready. Be careful not to burn the spinach. After around 10 minutes, it should smell delicious and taste just as good! Serve with chapatis and you’re ready to go!
Enjoy! Yellow Dal recipe en-route along with Chapati/Roti 101!