Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bengali Spinach

This recipe requires some advance work, but it's minimal: the frozen spinach needs to be thawed, and the raw almonds need to be soaked overnight (soaking releases the enzymes and makes the almonds easier to digest -- to learn more, go here).

If you prefer to use fresh spinach, you will need two pounds, trimmed, washed and coarsely chopped. If you are using fresh spinach, you can omit the step in which the frozen spinach is pureed in the food processor.

I wash and freeze my ginger as soon as I bring it home from the store. This makes it easier to grate, and allows it to keep for a longer period of time.


2/3 cup raw almonds
2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons sesame oil or canola oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger root
1 teaspoon seeded and minced green chilies (serrano or thai chilies will work, but not jalapeƱos)
2 10 oz packages frozen spinach, thawed and pressed dry
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons table cream
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

The night before:

Thaw the spinach. Soak the almonds overnight in two cups warm water.

The day of your meal:

Drain the almonds. Remove and discard the skins, then rinse the almonds. Store the soaked almonds the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.

Puree the spinach in a food processor.

Heat the oil and mustard seeds in a covered 5 quart nonstick pan over medium heat. The mustard seeds will pop as they heat; keep the pan covered until the mustard seeds have stopped popping.

Once the mustard seeds have stopped popping, uncover the pan and add the sugar, fenugreek seed, and cumin seed. Fry, stirring constantly, until the sugar carmelizes and the seeds darken (about one to two minutes).

Stir in the ginger, chilies, spinach, nuts, coconut and salt. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, uncover the pan and stir, so that the spinach cooks evenly. Add 1/4 cup water if necessary, and cook for another 10 minutes.

Stir in the cream and nutmeg and heat for 1 to 2 more minutes. Serve over basmati rice.

Serves 4.

1 comment:

LisaRene said...

My kind of meal! Sounds delicious. Love the addition of shredded coconut and the almonds.