My SO and I both enjoy flavorful-spicy food, and thus we've been fans of Indian cuisine ever since we first tried it a few years ago. Since my last two recipes of the week have been rather meat- and fat-heavy, I thought I'd post up a good vegetable-heavy Indian recipe here to break the trend. This is not your typical bland steamed vegetable dish: the spinach, potatoes, and peas combine with the spices to create a cohesive whole that is delicious, and can easily serve as the main entree (or, at least, it does in our household). The recipe below is slightly modified from Sahni's "Classic Indian Cooking," a book I highly recommend to anyone interested in Indian cooking.
1 pound frozen chopped spinach
1/4 pound frozen peas
1 pound potatoes
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or usli ghee)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped (or pressed)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 1/4 cups boiling water
3/4 teaspoon garam masala (a common Indian spice mixture)
1. Defrost, but don't cook, the spinach and peas (we use the microwave), and then drain off as much water as you can.
2. Peel the potatoes and chop into moderate-size pieces (~2-3 cm^3, or larger).
3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
4. Add the garlic, cumin, and cayenne pepper, and cook for a few seconds.
5. Add the potatoes, and fry, stirring often, over medium heat for approximately 5-8 minutes (until they start to brown).
6. Add the peas, and cook for a minute or so.
7. Mix in the spinach, approximately one cup at a time, waiting for the spinach to heat up and cook a little bit between each addition (~30 seconds).
8. Mix in the ground ginger, salt, and boiling water, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender (~20-25 minutes).
9. Uncover the pan and cook until the water is mostly evaporated, ~15 minutes. Stir occasionally, being careful not to break the potatoes. Cook "until the potatoes and greens look almost dry and the oil begins to coat and glaze the vegetables."
10. Mix in the garam masala, and serve.
Radagast likes this dish served with steamed rice, while Radagast's SO prefers the dish by itself. Take your pick.
Note: The original recipe calls for equal amounts of spinach and some other type of greens (mustard, kale, collard), instead of peas. We've made it using collard greens, and it was tasty.
Sahni, Julie 1980. Classic Indian Cooking. William Morrow & Co, NY. pp. 319-321.