This is one of those most important British Indian restaurant recipes
In almost every busy Indian restaurant kitchen I’ve been in, there is usually a batch of freshly cooked spinach at the ready. This spinach is used in a number of ways.
Sometimes it’s added to vegetable bhajee. It is after all a nice addition. Then it is also part of many curries from special paalak/saag dishes to more common saag aloo and paneer saag.
You could get quite creative with the ready-cooked spinach. Add some to your chicken tikka masala for a chicken tikka masala saag. I think you get the idea.
This is an easy preparation. There is no hot spice added as the spinach is often added to mild curries.
- 250g fresh baby spinach leaves
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 inch cassia bark
- 3 cassia leaves (Indian bay leaves)
- 1 tablespoon paanch phoron
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 onions - finely sliced
- a pinch of turmeric
- Heat a pot of water until boiling.
- Dump the spinach leaves in the water and blanch (cook in the water) for about 30 seconds.
- Stain the spinach and place in a cold water bath.
- Now squeeze the spinach leaves until most of the water is out and then chop finely.
- Heat the oil over medium high heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the cassia bark and cassia leaves and fry for about 30 seconds.
- Now add the paanch phoron and cook for a further 15 seconds before adding the chopped onions.
- You need to fry the onions for about five minutes stirring regularly so that the become translucent and soft but not over browned.
- Sprinkle a little salt over the onions to release some of the water and then add the chopped spinach.
- Fry until heated through.
- Add the turmeric and stir it into the spinach and then set the dish aside to cool for use in your curries.
*Paanch Phoron translated ‘5 spices’ is a whole spice blend of equal parts of spice including fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds and fennel seeds. You can blend your own though the whole spice mix is readily available at Asian shops.