I seem to quite unintentionally have two themes this week. First of all, all three recipes contain potatoes and secondly, they are all Indian. I am going to start with the really, quick and easy recipe of Saag Aloo which translates, somewhat unexcitingly as “Spinach Potato”. Things often sound more exotic in another language!
You will need to use waxy potatoes for this dish so that they do not turn to mush. It is hard to tell from the outside of the potato how it is going to cook but as a general rule, if it is yellow when peeled it is usual waxy and the whiter it is inside the more floury it will be.
As for the spinach. True spinach can be wilted straight in the saucepan as in the recipe, but if using perpetual spinach (larger slightly tougher leaves) you will have to briefly blanch the leaves first in a pan of boiling salted water. Cook for 2-3 minutes and layout to cool. Squeeze out any excess water before adding.
Saag Aloo makes a lovely side dish, but I recon this could make a meal on its own, maybe with a naan bread on the side. Noting beats, a freshly made naan baked in a tandoor. I call up my local Indian restaurant, place an order and pick them up on my way home!
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 small onions, or 1 very large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic clove, grated
Large knob of ginger, scrape off the outside with a teaspoon and grate
500g potato, peeled and cut into 1 cms chunks
1 large red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
½ tsp each black mustard
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground cardamom seeds (grind in a coffee grinder)
2 big handfuls spinach
Large handful of coriander, freshly chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the coconut oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan and add the onion and a ½ tsp salt and a large pinch of pepper. Sweat for about 5-10 minutes until translucent but without colour. Add the garlic and ginger, chilli and spices and fry for 1-2 mins. Stir in the potatoes, and continue cooking and stirring for 5 mins more. Add a splash of water, cover, and cook for 8-10 mins. Keep checking. The potatoes are ready when you can easily spear them with the point of a knife. If necessary, add more water and stir time to time replacing lid each time. When you are sure the potatoes are cooked. Check seasoning and add the spinach. Replace lid and allow 1-2 minutes to wilt. Stir in spinach and a large handful of freshly chopped coriander. Serve straight away.