Wednesday, 25 November 2015

SHPICY ALOO SAAG

Suitable for vegans.


Serves 1 - 2

You need:

8 baby potatoes (halved or quartered)
2 cloves garlic (crushed or finely chopped)
1 onion (chopped to preference, I prefer roughly chopped)
1 red pepper (large chunks)
3 chillies, whatever colour you want (2 finely chopped, one sliced for garnish)
Garam masala
Turmeric
Chili flakes
Cuimin seeds
2 tomatoes (quartered)
3-4 handfuls spinach
Salt
2 tbsp natural/vegan yogurt (e.g. alpro)
1 knob of butter/vegan margarine (optional)


I love this recipe, I have been making it nearly every week. For several reasons; it's tasty as fuck, it uses basic ingredients which you can use with a load of other recipes, and it doesn't require measuring spices etc out as this is really fucking annoying. Instead, you season and add spices to taste, which means the end product is one you have tailored to suit you!

A few tips before we start. With Indian food, salt balance is so important. You can have lovely fresh ingredients and loads of spices, but if there isn't enough salt it will taste completely flavourless. Also, when adding salt, don't just throw in a load at the end. Season with salt as you cook. Finally, I have always found when cooking this dish, that despite putting in 3 chills (although one for garnish), it never tastes that spicy, hence the chilli flakes. However, whatever the science is, if you have some left over for the next day, you can bet the chillies will have released their spiciness into the food by then, so if you are planning to have some the following day and you have a low tolerance for spicy food, maybe just add in 1-2 chillies.

So! That being said, lets cook! Add some olive oil to a pan and get it to a medium-hot heat. Add in your chili, garlic, and onions and give a quick stir.

Add your garam masala, cumin seeds, and tumeric. Coat everything thoroughly. It is important to add these at the start as the spices really need to be cooked for the flavour.

Add in the potatoes and tomatoes, with around 2 pinches of salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add a bit of water so it's evenly spread along the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, cover pot, and reduce heat to simmer. The idea here is you will cook the potatoes in the spices, so you will need to keep stirring and adding more water. You will know they are cooked when you can put a fork into one with very little effort.

When the potatoes are cooked, everything is nearly ready. Blend your spinach in around a cup of water or more. It's better to use less water, then if it is too thick you can add water to get your desired consistency. Add spinach to your potatoes and mix around, increase heat slightly and let cook for 2 minutes. Add your red pepper.

I usually find at this point, that with the addition of the spinach and water, the flavours can get very diluted. So add in some more salt and garam masala to taste, and some chili flakes if you're feeling adventurous...

Let this cook for about 3-4 minutes, then add the yogurt. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

About 2 minutes before you are ready to serve, add your butter. Traditionally, in Indian food, clarified butter, or ghee, is used. However, for me, normal stuff works fine. If you're vegan and can't find any good vegan margarine just skip this part!

Serve with rice... or naan... or both!

-CMC

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