Spinach and Lentil Curry
I've been salivating for Indian food ever since I picked up India's Vegetarian Cooking: A Regional Guide from the library. This is a definite purchase item. Gorgeous photographs and I want to try every recipe! This is a rare recommendation.
This recipe is an adapted version of the book's Palak Dal (Gujarati-Style Spinach and Lentils). I have to admit, I've made many Indian dishes, but none with spinach. Palak Paneer (spinach with Indian cheese) is the best-known Indian spinach dish, but this cookbook has a number of interesting new spinach variations. And because the spinach is pureed in a blender or food processor, it works for those who don't like that succulent spinach teeth-squeaky characteristic.
I made the following modifications:
The spinach adds a freshness to this dish, but the spinach flavor is extremely mild, so it's a great recipe even for those who aren't really into spinach. I followed the recipe quantities and would say this makes two hearty portions. The original recipe is for the sauce base and says it serves four with a vegetable stir fry.
Spinach & Lentil Curry:
2 - 2 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup yellow lentils
3 small potatoes, diced
5 oz spinach
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 pinch sea salt
1 TBS sunflower seed oil of ghee
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2" cube fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, deribbed, and chopped
1 pinch mustard seeds (I used yellow, but black if you have them)
1 pinch cumin seeds
1 pinch ground cumin
1 pinch ground coriander
juice of half a lemon (essential)
4 pinches of sea salt
Rinse the lentils and add to a saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes, then add diced potatoes. Simmer an additional 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain excess water.
In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 TBS sunflower oil. Toast the garlic, mustard seeds, cumin seeds for 1 minute. Add the ground cumin and coriander. Cook another minute and turn off heat.
In a blender of food processor, blend the spinach, 1/2 TBS sunflower oil, fresh coriander, and a pinch of salt until pureed.
After draining the water from the lentil mix, add the toasted spices and pureed spinach/coriander. Add lemon juice and salt to taste (I added 4 pinches).
An after-thought was that this dish would benefit from a creamy spoonful of raita (plain yogurt, grated cucumber, salt, pepper, ground cumin). This was good alone, but for a more substantial meal, serve over rice or with nan (Indian bread).