If you cook a vegetable like spinach, you always run the risk of it being too watery, and there is nothing worse than watery spinach if you ask me. But then, if you vigorously squeeze out every drop of water that you can, you are probably going to be left with a miniscule amount of spinach to consume. The 300g that seemed like it was going to be too much, suddenly seems not even enough to feed even a small child.
I also find that if I eat too much spinach in one go, I get a strange tinny taste in my mouth. Apparently, this isn’t a strange affliction that only I suffer from. But is due to the amount oxalic acid contained in spinach, which is released when cooked (I don’t get it from raw spinach funnily enough).
In any case, I do like spinach. It’s very healthy (just ask Popeye) and packed with vitamins and minerals. It’s extremely versatile and used in lots of cuisines – I like it in pies, tarts, with pasta, stews and as you will see from the recipe below, in curries.
Spinach is used widely in Indian cuisine, not only in vegetarian or side dishes but also as an accompaniment to meat dishes. I find it works better with chicken or turkey – as it has quite a dominant taste that poultry can handle, whereas you need to be a bit more careful with the stronger tasting meats.
This recipe is very delicious and easy to make. You could use turkey meat instead and if you want to use any other green leaf, feel free. You can also add lots more or a lot less chilli if you wish.
OTV Cuisine: Chicken and Spinach Curry
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 3 long red chilli, sliced (you can remove the seeds if you wish)
- 100g butter / oil
- 2 large onions, diced
- 1 large potato, peeled and cut into cubes
- 500g skinless chicken breast meat, cut into thumb sized chunks
- 200g large leaf spinach (or other green vegetable)
- 2 tablespoons yoghurt
- 1 small bunch coriander
- Toast the dry spices in a hot pan for a minute or so, until they start to smell smoky.
- Transfer to a mortar with the garlic and two of the chillies and crush to a paste.
- Heat the oil or butter in a heavy-based pan.
- Add the onions and fry until golden.
- Add the spice mix, then turn the heat down.
- Add the potatoes and mix well.
- Keep frying for a few minutes, then pour in 100ml water, turn the heat up and bring to the boil.
- Cover and cook for 10 minutes, checking that the water does not evaporate completely.
- Add the chicken and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up any tasty bits. If the curry is dry, add a little more water.
- Cook for 5 minutes. Add the spinach and a little more water if the mixture seems to need it.
- Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, then cover the pan, remove it from the heat and leave the spinach to steam for 2 minutes.
- Take about 2 tablespoons of the spinach, combine it with half the yoghurt and puree this mixture in a blender.
- Stir the puree back into the curry and let it heat through for a moment.
- Transfer to a warmed serving dish and top with the rest of the yoghurt, sliced red chilli and fresh coriander.
- Serve with rice.
Recipe: Adapted from John Torrode
Pictures: See captions