Monday, April 22, 2019

Spinach Mashed - Palak Saag - Pasalai keerai Kadaisal - Farm to Plate

Greens should be eaten fresh. I am enjoying growing Spinach in what is called a high tunnel. What is a high tunnel you ask? It is a structure that looks like a green house but is not climate controlled and the walls and roof are made of plastic material and when the temperature becomes too hot the sides can be rolled up. In other words it is not as sophisticated as a green house but gives a farmer a bit more time on either side of the growing season, that is early spring and fall.

This is the first year we are trying out the high tunnel. We started the seeds a bit late because the tunnel was put up only in early March but the amazing this is we have fresh greens in less than 6 weeks. The weeding and watering is long story to be talked about another day.

Anyway I hadn't had such fresh Spinach ever! The first thing I could think of making it was this keerai kadaisal. Back home these were made with fresh Amaranth (thandu keerai). I don't much remember that taste very much since I have not had that fresh and tender Amaranth leaves in quite a long time. I will try growing them for sure in that very same high tunnel when the weather gets a bit warmer.

While this recipe with Spinach I cook a lot because it is easier to find fresh spinach.

Spinach Mashed - Spinach Saag - Spinach Kadaisal
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
  1. 1/2 lb of Spinach
  2. 2 tbsp of chopped onions or shallots
  3. 1 garlic clove chopped (optional)
  4. 3 green chilies
  5. 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  6. 1 tsp black pepper powder
  7. 1 tsp ghee or any kind of vegetable oil for vegan version
  8. salt to taste
  1. Wash the spinach and drain the water and roughly chop them.
  2. In a saute pan heat the ghee (oil) and add the cumin and pepper powders. Add the onion, green chilies and garlic in about 30 seconds, saute till the onions are translucent.
  3. Add in the cut spinach and about 1/4 cup of water along with salt and cook for about 4-6 minutes till the greens are cooked.
  4. Let the greens cool and using a hand blender blend the greens as smooth or as coarse as you want.
The mashed spinach is eaten mixed with rice or can be used as a dip. Cooked chicken or sauteed paneer(Indian cottage cheese) could be added and enjoyed as a curry a la Palak Panner.

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