Spinach and corn (Makai Palak)
This spinach base can be used for paneer (cottage cheese) or potatoes ( aloo palak). I used corn because I cook with what I have. Recipes are written for a purpose. If you deviate from it because you think it won’t suit your palette then you end up being disappointed with the dish. This dish has three green chillies and red chilli powder which may sound like a lot of heat (Spicy does not translate as hot). But it is balanced with the curd and the cream. If you don’t have curd or cream and still want to cook this dish, then only should you cut back on the chillies. If not the proportions are fine
Spinach – one large bunch
Corn – one cup
Fresh coriander- a fistful
Green chillies – 3
Whole Jeera – 1 teaspoon
Garlic and ginger paste – 1 tablespoon
Onion – 1 large, minced
Turmeric – 1/4 teaspoon
Jeera powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Garam masala – 1 teaspoon
Curd – 100 grams
Wheat flour – 1 teaspoon
Thick fresh cream – 2 tablespoons
Ghee – 1 tablespoon
Salt to taste
In a large pot bring water to a boil. Turn off the gas and add only the leaves of the spinach which have been stemmed and washed. Let the spinach soak in the hot water for a whole minute. Now drain the spinach and run cold water over it to arrest the cooking process. Alternatively, you could drop the spinach in iced water.Teh cold water arrests the cooking process and retains the dark green colour.
In a blender add the spinach, green chillies and fresh coriander. You may have to add a tad bit of water. Do not over run the machine or else you will end up with a bitter mixture.
In a pot heat the ghee and when hot add the whole cumin. Sauté the jeera till it is slightly brown. Now add the onions and fry till they are translucent. Add the ginger and garlic paste and continue to fry this for half a minute more. Reduce the heat and add the cumin, red chilli and turmeric powder. Make sure you don’t burn the spices. To prevent this happening, add two tablespoons of water. Stir this well and now add the spinach mixture, corn, salt and a cup of water.
Cook the spinach mixture and the corn for about five minutes on a slow flame. Beat up the curd (room temperature always) to a smooth paste and add a tablespoon of wheat flour to it and introduce this to the spinach mixture. Make sure your dish is not bubbling when you do this. Let this continue to cook for five minutes. Adjust the water if need be, you want a thick gravy. Turn off the gas and add the fresh cream and garam masala.
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