I love Indian food. If I had to choose a favourite cuisine, I think Indian would be it. We do have a few Indian restaurants not too far away from us (i.e. about half an hour´s drive) but I usually get my curry fix when I go to London. I was lucky enough to live in a neighbourhood that was predominantly Indian and African, so I was spoilt for choice in wonderful ethnic restaurants.
Sometimes, however, my cravings get the better of me and I have to make curry at home. Big Man hasn´t ever really “had” the full curry experience, so doesn´t really understand my need for curry, but on the occasions I´ve made something “currified”, he´s enjoyed it.
We currently have a lot of chard growing and usually eat it wilted with oil and lemon juice but I decided to substitute the spinach in a Saag Aloo (that´s a Spinach and Potato curry) for chard, and see how it worked. Fortunately it was a perfect substitution and Big Man adored it. I think he´s starting to become a curry monster like me!
I lay no claims to the authenticity of the spices I use in relation to a real Indian Saag Aloo, but the combination worked well and had good spicy (but not too hot) flavour.
3 teaspoons of Garam Masala mix (you can buy ready made or make your own). I used a mix bought over by a friend which a chef friend of hers makes up and I then grind as I need it. I don´t know the exact mix but I picked out coriander seeds, curry leaves, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cinnamon and coriander.
1 or 2 teaspoons of hot chili powder (or use mild) according to taste
1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
Half a teaspoon of mustard seeds
Two medium potatoes (mine were ready cooked as it´s what I had in the fridge but you can use raw) cubed
About 3 cups of uncooked (or just wilted in its own steam), chopped spinach or chard, otherwise you can use frozen
About half a cup of chopped tomatoes
3 cloves of crushed garlic
Oil for frying (something with little flavour, not olive oil)
Start by frying the potatoes until lightly browned then remove them from the pan and drain off most of the oil.
Fry the spices until they start to release the most wonderful smells and then add the garlic and fry until it softens.
Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes then add your spinach or chard.
Put a lid on the pan and simmer for another 5 minutes or so then add the potatoes.
Add salt, Indian food can take (and usually needs) a heavy hand with the salt, but use low sodium if you can´t use regular.
Simmer, uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated but all of the vegetables are coated in the tomato and spice sauce.
I like this served with a generous squeeze of lemon juice.
Can be served as a side dish or a main (vegetarian) dish with plain boiled basmati rice. Now, where are my popadoms?!