All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013
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Indian food is generally pretty easy to throw together – providing you have access to lots of hard-to-find spices & really love chopping things. The only hard-to-find spice I included here is garam masala but it can be made easily from spices you likely have around.
2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoon ground cumin
3 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
Blend & store in an airtight container.
I used a bit of dairy in this. I wanted to add heavy cream or half & half but I had neither. Instead, I added a mix of milk & Mexican crema. You can use any of these – or their vegan counterparts. I used ghee – which is butter with the fat removed so it can be used over high heat without burning. If you cannot find it – you can make it – Ghee (clarified butter) – or just use olive oil.
You can use frozen spinach or blow off roasting the potatoes. Indian food is very flavorful & pretty forgiving.
You can use fresh or jarred ginger. I used this frozen version I found at the market.
Saag Aloo or Kale, Spinach & Pan-Roasted Potato Curry (Vegetarian or Vegan)
Serves 4 very heartily
1 bunch kale – veins removed & coarsely chopped
3 packed cups fresh spinach (or two (10 oz) boxes frozen)
1 onion – chopped
6 small potatoes – boiled until tender
1 tsp cumin seeds (not ground)
1 TBS fresh ginger (I used 4 frozen cubes)
4 garlic cloves – minced
1 TBS turmeric
1 tsp crushed red pepper (or to taste)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garam masala (recipe above – if you cannot find garam masala at your market)
1 cup tomato sauce
Ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil
3/4 cup of dairy (or vegan alternative) – like heavy cream or half & half or (as I did) a blend of milk & Mexican crema
S&P to taste
1 extra cup fresh spinach (optional)
(Serve with steamed rice or naan)
Garnish with fresh cilantro and/or diced red pepper (for color)
Boil the potatoes until they fall off your fork when pierced. Drain & rinse in cold water. DRY THEM OFF & cube them. If they are not dry – you will likely get splattered with hot oil.
Heat 1-2 TBS of the ghee or olive oil over med-high heat. Toss the potatoes & cook until they are browned a bit. Set aside.
In the same pan, add more ghee or oil if you need to & saute the onions until they are soft. Push them to the side of the pan & raise the heat to high. Add the cumin seeds & cook until they begin to sizzle. Blend the onions back in & add the garlic & ginger. Saute one minute & then add the turmeric, coriander, chili powder, garam masala, crushed red pepper & tomato sauce. Stir to combine. I added two cups of water here. I like a lot of sauce in my Indian dishes. Cut the water for a drier result. Add the greens. When they are wilted and heated through, add the dairy (or non-dairy) you chose. Heat it all through. Just before serving, I added another cup of fresh spinach – just to add some brighter green. Season with S&P. Once that is stirred in there good – serve this up over rice or with naan – or both – topped with some chopped cilantro and diced red pepper!