Saag Bhaji – aka a divine thing to do to spinach

I’ve been living on this the last few days.

Saag Bhaji – aka a divine thing to do to spinach

Ingredients

6 tbsp ghee
half teasp black mustard seeds
1 teasp cumin seeds
10 fenugreek seeds (optional)
1 tbsp curry leaves – fresh if possible
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2-4 dried red chillies, roughly chopped
460g fresh spinach or 225g frozen, finely chopped
15g ghee (about a tbsp)
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 large onion, finely sliced
half a teasp turmeric
1 teasp cumin
half a teasp garam masala
half a teasp chilli powder
2-3 ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped (tinned is fine)
1 teasp salt

Method

Heat 2 tbsp of ghee over a medium heat and fry the mustard seeds until they pop. Add the cumin seeds, fenugreek, and curry leaves with the garlic and red chillies. Allow the garlic to brown slightly. Add the spinach, mix thoroughly. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Melt the 15g of ghee in a frying pan over medium heat and brown the potatoes. Set aside.

Heat the rest of the ghee over medium heat and fry the onions until well browned, taking care not to burn the onions or they will taste bitter. Reduce the heat to minimum and add the spices, stir and fry a few minutes. Add the spinach, potato, tomato and salt, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, add extra salt if necessary and serve.

I adore this.

From Classic Indian Cuisine Rosemary Moon

French Bean and Potato Bhaji

French Bean and Potato Bhaji

Ingredients

5 tbsp ghee
half teasp black mustard seeds
half teasp cumin seeds
1 large onion, finely sliced
4 dry red chillies, roughly chopped
about 10 fenugreek seeds
15g freshly chopped coriander leaves
half teasp turmeric
1 large potato, peeled and cut into matchsticks
275g green beans, sliced/diced
1 teasp salt
1 teasp ground cumin

Method

Heat the ghee over a medium heat and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the cumin seeds, onions, red chillies and fenugreek. Fry for a few minutes stirring all the time. Add the coriander leaves and turmeric, and fry for one minute before adding the beans, potatoes and salt. Stir until everything is well mixed, then cover and cook on very low heat until vegetables are cooked. This will take best part of half an hour, but you do need to check from time to time; this is a dry dish and you don’t want to burn it. Add the ground cumin, stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Serve.

From Classic Indian Cuisine Rosemary Moon

Avocado with cocktail sauce

Moving on from the last post, something for the teetotallers and the vegetarians.

The sauce:

tomato sauce (ie Rosella or some inferior brand)
yoghurt
tabasco
vinegar
Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground pepper

Mess around with the proportions, maybe 2 tblsp of tomato sauce to one of yoghurt?

And I never seem to make enough of it, so make more than you will need.

Now the hard part. Slice open the avocado, take out the seed. You may be the sort of person who has a special bowl for serving avocados so they don’t slip. I think you simply slice just a tiny bit from the bottom of the round part. Put it on a plate and generously fill the hollow with the cocktail sauce

I guess adding prawns to this would make it posh, but it is yummy without.

Prawns with cocktail sauce

One of the things I’ve been doing in excess while in Australia is the devouring of South Australian king prawns. This is a favourite way.

Rick Stein’s cocktail sauce it is the only way I drink whiskey and I really do mean drink. I can stand at the fridge, door open, shovelling this into my mouth. If you happen to have prawns about, so much the better.

Ingredients for sauce:

* 4 tbsp mayonnaise
* 4 tbsp tomato ketchup
* 2 tbsp single malt whiskey
* 4 tbsp natural, unsweetened yoghurt

Mix the above and serve with prawns.

I buy green king prawns and cook them myself: a large pan of water to a good rolling boil, toss in the prawns, they will rise to the top and be pink after a couple of minutes or so. Quickly plunge into cold iced water and then chill until needed.

If you are serving this formally in glass bowls with salad leaves underneath and prawns mixed into the sauce, then I guess you shell them. If you are simply serving the prawns as a free for all fight, maybe best not to shell them, this is probably supposed to be part of the fun of the dish.

One of my favourite Christmas Day dishes for when I’m in the climate God surely intended for that occasion.

Mixed vegetable curry

A couple of years ago I had a vegetarian friend come to stay for a week. I find vegetarians very demanding. Oh, they never are in their own eyes, in fact they are the moral opposite. ‘You can give me anything’ or ‘I’m used to eating whatever’. But I can’t do that. If you are going to eat vegetarian it should be splendid, it shouldn’t be ‘whatever’. But vegetarian undoubtedly takes a lot of time.

So, when Jonathan visited, I organised a dinner party and bridge for him, just four of us, one vegetarian. Even though before I started cooking in the late afternoon I had already prepared the meat dishes, nonetheless I simply hadn’t nearly calculated how long it takes to prepare Indian vegetarian dishes. I made the chickpea curry, recipe given elsewhere here, a rice dish, palak paneer (I will give the recipe for this divine dish made with Indian cheese which you make yourself) and this vegetable dish. It took forever, I don’t think we sat down to eat until 9pm. By the time we were playing bridge I was sound asleep and played like it.

Mixed Vegetable Curry

Ingredients

4-5 tbsp ghee
1 large onion finely chopped
1” piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 teasp turmeric
1 teasp coriander
1 teasp cumin
1 teasp paprika
tin of tomatoes
225g potatoes, peeled and diced
90g green beans, sliced
120g carrots peeled and sliced
90g shelled peas
450ml warm water
2-4 fresh green chillies left whole
1 teasp garam masala
1 teasp salt
1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander leaves

Method

Heat the ghee over medium heat and fry the onions until lightly browned. Add the ginger, stir a few times and reduce heat before adding the dry spices. Stir well. Add half the tomatoes and stir for a couple of minutes, then add the potatoes. After they’ve cooked for five minutes add the rest of the vegetables. The potatoes just need a bit of a head start. Add the water, bring to the boil, then simmer on very low until vegetables are tender, at least a quarter of an hour…ah. Time for a quick goodreads review. Hurry back, add the remaining tomatoes and the green chillies. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes or so, add the garam masala and salt, mix. Stir in half the coriander leaves, place in a warmed serving dish and garnish with the rest of the coriander leaves. Serve. (From Classic Indian Cuisine Rosemary Moon)

The worst thing about how much time preparing vegetables Indian style is that you can’t freeze the result the way you can a meat curry. The results of your efforts have to be cooked right there on the spot or within a day or two. But life would be a poorer thing in their absence, no doubt about it.

Aloo Mattar – Potatoes and Peas

Aloo Mattar – Potatoes and Peas (or beans)

Ingredients

4 tbsp ghee
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cinnamon sticks, c. 2” each, broken up
1” piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
half a teasp turmeric
2 teasp cumin
a little chilli powder
freshly ground black pepper
450g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
1-2 whole fresh green chillies
1 tbsp tomato puree/paste
1 teasp salt
225ml warm water
120g frozen peas
1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander leaves

Method

Heat the ghee over medium heat and fry the onion, cinnamon and ginger for 5 minutes, stirring all the time. Reduce heat to low and add the spices and pepper. Stir and fry for one minute, then add potatoes and green chillies and stir for a few minutes making sure that the spices are thoroughly blended. Stir in the tomato puree/paste and salt, then add the water. Bring to the boil, cover the pan and cook over medium to low heat for 10 minutes, until potatoes are half cooked.

Keep a careful eye on this, you don’t want it to burn. Add the peas, cover the pan and cook as long as necessary. We do not want undercooked potatoes, do we…stir in half the coriander leaves, use the rest as garnish. Serve.

I often use green beans instead of peas for this.

Spiced Green Beans

Spiced Green Beans

Ingredients

2 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp ghee
half teasp black mustard seeds
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1-2 dried red chillies, roughly chopped
half a teasp turmeric
1 teasp coriander
460g green beans, topped, tailed, diced
salt to taste
1 tbsp dessicated coconut

Method

Heat a pan over medium heat and add the seasme seeds to lightly brown. Be vigilant, DO NOT BURN!! Remove to a plate and leave.

Heat ghee in a pan over medium heat and add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the garlic and brown a little. Add the red chillies and spices, stir and add the beans and salt. Stir to mix, reduce heat to as low as possible, cover pan and cook until beans are tender, stirring now and then. Maybe this will take 15-20 minutes. Grind the sesame seeds and the coconut according to your preferred technology and mix into the beans. Serve.