Sunday, October 20, 2013

Stewed Spinach with Coconut, Chiles, and Curry Leaves

This dish is everything an Indian side dish should be - easy to make, richly flavorful with just a little bit of heat. I made some fish to go with it, but this side dish stole the show entirely.

One year ago: Beef Stew with Squash and Cinnamon
Two years ago: Honey-Glazed Five-Spice Baby Back Ribs
Four years ago: Sesame Green Beans

Stewed Spinach with Coconut, Chiles, and Curry Leaves (from 660 Curries)

1 lb fresh spinach leaves
1 cup shredded coconut or 1/2 cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut, reconstituted
1/4 cup medium to large fresh curry leaves
4 dried red Thai or cayenne chiles, stems removed
2 tbsp Ghee or canola oil
1 tsp black or yellow mustard seeds
1 tbsp skinned split black lentils (cream-colored)
1 tsp coarse salt

1. Bring large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add spinach in batches, stirring until it wilts, 3 - 5 minutes.
2. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water. Shock with cold water. Transfer to cutting board and chop finely.
3. Pour reserved cooking water into blender jar. Add coconut, curry leaves, and 2 chiles. Puree.
4. Heat ghee in small skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, cover skillet, and cook until they've stopped popping.
5. Add lentils and remaining 2 chiles and stir-fry until chiles blacken, 15 - 20 seconds.
6. Add spinach, along with any water from the greens.
7. Add salt and coconut paste. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium, cover and simmer 10 minutes to allow flavors to meld.

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