Monday, May 12, 2008

Aloo Palak

This is really one of your pan-Indian classics. What makes it "regional" is the varying spices they use, and even the varying underlying frying fat they use.

In this presentation, we are going to do better than your average Indian mamma, and use classic Italian technique to turn a two-pot double-frying fiddly-mom-dish into a single potter without sacrificing absolutely anything.

At the heart of it is a rather simple idea (although the implementation may be complex.) In order to get flavor, you need to let vegetables fry first, and then boil/steam later. The point is that once you get even a reasonable amount of water in the dish, you are no longer frying but steaming/boiling so you really need to control the amount of moisture so that the stuff is actually frying not making the transition into boiling.

Everyone still with me?

Hoo-kay, onwards and upwards.

This is not one of those fiddly dishes. For some bizarre reason, what goes below is loved by adults and children, most likely for different reasons. This is what Indian mammas cook up when they are bored, or possibly when they are shtupping their boyfriends. Then they claim they made it because it's good for you (which it is.)

Whatever. Either way. Basic but delightful.


3 large potatoes (cubed)
2 bunches spinach (blanched, squeezed, diced fine)

1 large onion (diced fine)
1" ginger
4-5 Thai green chillies
3 cloves garlic

1 tbsp cumin
salt (to taste)

Grind the ginger, garlic, green chillies into a paste. Try and use as little water as possible.

First fry the onions.

Then fry the ginger-garlic-green-chilli paste. Toss in the cumin (not shown) towards the end.

Then fry the potatoes. This will try your patience big time. It takes bleedin' forever, and it tries everyone's patience. Learn how to deal.

Finally the spinach. You need to fry it for a while. If you plan to use frozen spinach, please read this note first.

When you are bored out of your skull, which you will be, add the water, and let it cook until the potatoes are tender (at least 10-12 minutes.)

Aloo palak

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