Souped-up green sludge

As I’ve mentioned before, Madhur Jaffrey is my idea of reliable. I’ll try anything by her once. But now and again…

She has a recipe in her Taste of India which she says is for the best vegetable puree she has ever tasted and that included, she said, the puree of superior French restaurants. Well, my best advice to anybody reading this, in that case, is never ever order the vegetable puree, even if it has three Michelin stars attached.

This one starts off thus.

Channa dal – 175g – soaked for an hour.
Approximately 600g spinach, stemmed and washed.
A large potato peeled and chopped.
A couple of onions, ditto.
About 500g tomatoes, also chopped.

A magical melange according to Madhur. Add to a large pot several tablespoons of oil, toss in all the above and some chillies. Add 750ml water, bring to the boil. Simmer until soft. Now bring to boil and reduce to a thick stew. Puree. Et voila.

What you have at this stage is the very drabbest green sludge which I, ever the optimist, served with roast lamb and potatoes. The dry, over-cooked lamb was quite the highlight.

What next? How to save all that time I’ve spent stemming a mountain of spinach? I tried this today for lunch:

two ladles of green sludge (one per person)
cup of plain yoghurt
salt and pepper
teaspoon harissa paste

In a saucepan mix the sludge and water, then add the yoghurt. As far as quantities go, my idea was a thin soup. You want to heat without boiling, you don’t want the yoghurt to curdle. Everything else you can add just before serving.

This was really good. Souped-up green sludge. Yummmmm.


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