Friday, October 30, 2009

Creamed Spinach With An Edge

I was a weird kid. I loved spinach. It was always my favorite vegetable and I probably could have eaten it three times a day. I'm talking regular steamed spinach here, nothing fancy, no extras. My family is Italian from Florence and if there's anything a Florentine loves, it's spinach! We put it in soup, ravioli, torta and of course plain with olive oil and garlic. When I was older I got to taste creamed spinach for the first time and if I had a bad spinach Jones before , it only made it worse.
Imagine my delight when stumbling across Punjabi spinach 20 years ago when I first started cooking Indian food. Actually it's referred to in most cook books as Punjabi pureed vegetables, but don't let the name throw you off, it's mainly spinach. Lovely green creamy spinach, and surprise surprise, contains no butter or cream whatsoever so it's entirely vegan safe. Once you've had it this way, you'll never go back to plain old run of the mill green stuff with cream and nutmeg.
To make Punjabi Pureed Vegetables
1.) roughly chop up 1 onion
2.) chop up anywhere from 2 to 5 green chilies depending upon how hot you want you vegetables
4.) chop up 1 large boiling potato
5.) chop up 4 small tomatoes
6.) clean and wash 1 lb of fresh spinach
In a large pot heat
7.) 2 Tbs of vegetable oil
8.) When it's hot add in all your vegetables along with 3 cups of water and
9.) 1 tsp of salt.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover it and lower the heat. Let it cook this way for 1 hour.

10.) When the vegetables are soft, remove the lid and raise the heat to boil again.
Cook it an additional 20 minutes or until most of the water has cooked away.
11.) using a blender or immersion wand blender puree the mixture until you have a lovely thick puree

12.) Add in 1 cup of peas either fresh or frozen. Continue to cook for an additional 6 minutes or so until the peas are cooked through.
13.) add in 2 to 3 tsp of garam masala and salt to taste.
Serve and enjoy the spinachy goodness! Popeye never had it so good.


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