Wednesday, 11 November 2015

VEGAN BABY POTATOES AND BABY SPINACH CURRY ~ GO GREEN


The day after a feast or celebrating a festival, it becomes a real challenge for me to decide what the menu would be for the day. My family members in unison demand for light dishes, something which will satiate the hunger, yet not be heavy on the tummy. Faced with the same dilemma this morning, I sat on the dinning table gazing out into the vast wide expanse outside through the window, while my mind worked on what to cook. After the dozens of sweets and savory munchies everyone have been consuming since the Diwali festivities have commenced, I knew that no one would be in a mood for anything heavy today. Breakfast was more or less sorted, green smoothies for the rest of the family and a green smoothie pancakes for little D. But what about lunch? Suddenly I remembered the huge bag of baby potatoes lying in my kitchen pantry. Okay should I go for a Dum Aloo I thought with chapatis, well no, I thought remembering what the expressions across the dinning table could be at this dish. Not that Dum Aloo was not loved , but with chapatis no, it was always savoured with luchi or kochuri. So that was scratched off my mental menu for today at least. Still undecided I walked to check the refrigeration in my quest for new ideas for the menu.I opened the refrigerator to be greeted by again boxes of sweets, fruits and more sweets. Diwali always leaves my refrigerator screaming for space, jam packed mostly with sweets. No idea from here too I thought to myself. 


As I was about to close the door of the refrigerator, two ingredients caught my attention. Lying half covered under the boxes of sweets was a bag of baby SPINACH and just peeping out from behind the spinach bags was one half of a fresh COCONUT. Voila!! I instantly knew what I wanted to cook for lunch. I would cook the baby potatoes with the baby spinach. It would be quite wholesome and taste great paired with rotis and a fresh green salad. 

Done. I pulled the bag out and started all the peeling, chop chopping etc. As I was about to blanch the spinach to get it ready for pureeing I remembered little D's expression the last time I had made the cottage cheese in spinach gravy. I had had a really tough time to convince her that the green in the curry would taste yummm. Although she did lap it up once I could convince her to take the first bite, today I however did not want to go through the process of all the tale telling to get her take that first bite. 


I once again looked at all the ingredients lying on my working platform and thought for a minute. An idea struck me, why not make a creamy curry but keep milk, cream, cashewnuts or almonds out of the gravy. Make it creamy, yet light with some different ingredient mix. Okay lets see maybe coconut and peanut together, would definitely be lighter yet give me the desired silky texture for my gravy. Done. Now where would I fit in the spinach? Think think..... Why don't I use these gorgeous leaves just like a garnish right at the end of my cooking of the curry. It would be lovely as these lovely spinach leaves should be kept whole and not pureed I thought. Everything was now almost coming together. I thought I would sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds right on top to enhance the look and for that nice crunch. Done and finally I had decided, Vegan Baby Potatoes and Baby Spinach curry with a creamy yummy light gravy and light crunches in between from the sesame seeds it would be.

The curry is ready and tastes delicious, looks so appetizing. The gravy is delightfully light but luscious and has a wonderful silky texture. It tastes so flavorsome with every bite scooped out with a roti. I am sure you will love it too dear readers. Its a curry which is loaded with flavours and very light on the gut. So lets get started with the step by step recipe right away.

VEGAN BABY POTATOES AND BABY SPINACH CURRY RECIPE:


AUTHOR : PIYALI MUTHA
SERVES : 4
CUISINE : INDIAN
TYPE : SIDE DISH / CURRY
TIME : 15 MINUTES PREPARATION + 30 MINUTES COOKING

INGREDIENTS:

1) 400~500 Gms Baby Potatoes
2) 250 Gms Fresh baby Spinach leaves
3) 1Large Onion finely sliced
4) 2 Tsp Garlic paste
5) 1 Tsp Ginger paste
6) 1 1/2 Tsp Garam masala powder
7) 1 Tsp of Roasted Cumin powder
8) 2 Tsp of Roasted Coriander powder
9) 1/2 Tsp Turmeric powder
10) Salt to taste
11) 1 Tbsp Oil
12) 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds for Tempering

FOR THE CREAMY CURRY BASE PASTE:

1) 4 Tbsp desiccated/frozen or fresh Coconut
2) 2 Tbsp Roasted Peanut
3) 2 Medium sized Tomatoes chopped
4) 1~2 Green chillies

PROCEDURE TO MAKE VEGAN BABY POTATOES AND BABY SPINACH CURRY/ALOO PALAK :

1) Wash the Baby Spinach leaves thoroughly in a colander under running water.
2) Wash the Baby Potatoes thoroughly.
3) Keep the spinach leaves aside in a bowl soaked in water or like that ready to use.
4) Peel the baby potatoes.
5) Put them in a bowl of water while peeling so that they do not turn brown.
6) After peeling all the potatoes, wash them again and pressure cook them covered with water until one whistle. Alternately you can cook the potatoes in a thick bottom pan covered with water until 80% done.


7) For the curry base grind tomatoes, roasted peanuts ( if you have raw peanuts, take a handful and dry roast them in a pan. Cool and use. Roasting the peanuts increases the nutty flavour of the gravy), green chillies, fresh coconut in a food processor or grinder to a smooth paste.
8) Check the paste as we want a silky smooth paste. Normally water is not required to grind these, but if you need, add little water at a time and grind.


9) In a pan/wok/kadai, add oil and when hot add cumin seeds. Allow it to crackle.
10) Next add ginger and garlic paste and sauté till fragrant.
11) Add the onions now and sauté till soft.
12) Add salt, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and sauté for a minute.


13) Scoop out the boiled potatoes from the cooker or pan and add them to the wok.
14) Mix nicely with the masala in the wok.
15) With the help of a tooth pick I make holes in the potato either now or before boiling so that the spices go inside them too.
16) Add the paste made in steps 7 and 8 and mix everything in the wok nicely. Let the potatoes and the paste all cook nicely in the wok for 2~3 minutes. You can toss the contents of the pan around so that the spices do not stick to the bottom. Using your spatula sparingly and do not break your potatoes.


17) Check for seasoning and add salt if required. Mix.
18) Add the spinach leaves and mix everything nicely again. Leave them in for a minute so that they cook. They cook in no time and wilt. 
19) Add Garam masala powder and mix nicely.
20) Add about 1/2 Cup (125ml approx) water and mix well. Increase the amount of water to a cup if you want a thinner gravy. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat.
21) Dry roast red chillies and sesame seeds and sprinkle over the curry.

Serve hot with breads of your choice.



VEGAN BABY POTATOES AND BABY SPINACH CURRY RECIPE:

AUTHOR : PIYALI MUTHA
SERVES : 4
CUISINE : INDIAN
TYPE : SIDE DISH / CURRY
TIME : 15 MINUTES PREPARATION + 30 MINUTES COOKING

INGREDIENTS:

1) 400~500 Gms Baby Potatoes
2) 250 Gms Fresh baby Spinach leaves
3) 1Large Onion finely sliced
4) 2 Tsp Garlic paste
5) 1 Tsp Ginger paste
6) 1 1/2 Tsp Garam masala powder
7) 1 Tsp of Roasted Cumin powder
8) 2 Tsp of Roasted Coriander powder
9) 1/2 Tsp Turmeric powder
10) Salt to taste
11) 1 Tbsp Oil
12) 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds for Tempering

FOR THE CREAMY CURRY BASE PASTE:

1) 4 Tbsp desiccated/frozen or fresh Coconut
2) 2 Tbsp Roasted Peanut
3) 2 Medium sized Tomatoes chopped
4) 1~2 Green chillies

PROCEDURE TO MAKE VEGAN BABY POTATOES AND BABY SPINACH CURRY/ALOO PALAK :

1) Wash the Baby Spinach leaves thoroughly in a colander under running water.
2) Wash the Baby Potatoes thoroughly.
3) Keep the spinach leaves aside in a bowl soaked in water or like that ready to use.
4) Peel the baby potatoes.
5) Put them in a bowl of water while peeling so that they do not turn brown.
6) After peeling all the potatoes, wash them again and pressure cook them covered with water until one whistle. Alternately you can cook the potatoes in a thick bottom pan covered with water until 80% done.

7) For the curry base grind tomatoes, roasted peanuts ( if you have raw peanuts, take a handful and dry roast them in a pan. Cool and use. Roasting the peanuts increases the nutty flavour of the gravy), green chillies, fresh coconut in a food processor or grinder to a smooth paste.
8) Check the paste as we want a silky smooth paste. Normally water is not required to grind these, but if you need, add little water at a time and grind.

9) In a pan/wok/kadai, add oil and when hot add cumin seeds. Allow it to crackle.
10) Next add ginger and garlic paste and sauté till fragrant.
11) Add the onions now and sauté till soft.
12) Add salt, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and sauté for a minute.

13) Scoop out the boiled potatoes from the cooker or pan and add them to the wok.
14) Mix nicely with the masala in the wok.
15) With the help of a tooth pick I make holes in the potato either now or before boiling so that the spices go inside them too.
16) Add the paste made in steps 7 and 8 and mix everything in the wok nicely. Let the potatoes and the paste all cook nicely in the wok for 2~3 minutes. You can toss the contents of the pan around so that the spices do not stick to the bottom. Using your spatula sparingly and do not break your potatoes.

17) Check for seasoning and add salt if required. Mix.
18) Add the spinach leaves and mix everything nicely again. Leave them in for a minute so that they cook. They cook in no time and wilt. 
19) Add Garam masala powder and mix nicely.
20) Add about 1/2 Cup (125ml approx) water and mix well. Increase the amount of water to a cup if you want a thinner gravy. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat.
21) Dry roast red chillies and sesame seeds and sprinkle over the curry.

Serve hot with breads of your choice.