by Rachel Lane and Ting Morris
Hinkler Books, Australia, 2010
Cooking on page 232
This book jumped from the shelf into my shopping basket. Well, not exactly! Before I forked over $10 for it I checked the recipes on page 32, 132 and 232. They’re all tempting.
We’re starting on page 232 with a vegetarian version of a Central Asian recipe. I picked it because I had a fridge full of baby spinach that needed to be used.
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium onion, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
10 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 long green chiles, chopped
6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) cubes)
6 cups (300 g) baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup (125 ml) water
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup (100 ml) plain yogurt
3/4 cup (200 ml) crème fraîche
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 cup (50 g) finely chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
Dry-fry the cumin seeds in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the oil and butter. When the butter is melted, add the onions and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in the cardamom, turmeric, salt, chiles and potatoes and sauté for 3 minutes.
Mix in the spinach, water and bay leaves. Cover and simmer over medium heat until all the water has been absorbed and the potatoes are tender, 10–12 minutes.
Mix the yogurt and crème fraîche with the garam masala and cilantro in a bowl. Stir this mixture into the spinach and bring almost to a boil. Remove the bay leaves and serve hot.
How it played out
Except for finely chopping the ginger and not peeling the potatoes, which I hardly ever do, I followed this to the letter.
Great side dish. It came together easily and certainly deserves a repeat appearance when spinach is on special. Served over two nights, first with a beef rendang and then Argentinean lamb chops, another page-232 recipe. The rendang is pictured here.