Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Meatless Humpday! Not Your Grandpas' Spinach Salad!


Who says the only meatless day is Monday? The middle of the week, when things get crazy is also the time for something fast and simple that doesn't involve turning on the stove.
This is about a  spinach salad that makes up in minutes, has interesting flavors and is not like your average spinach salad. I learned about this from one of the books Paula Wolfert gave me for my birthday The Salads of India. This is my adaptation of it.
  Here's what you do:
 Clean and chop 3 cups of fresh spinach leaves
 Mix them in a bowl with:
 2 Tbs of peanut powder. Peanut powder can be found in Asian markets or make your own as I do by peeling and roasting raw peanuts in a pan and then grinding them in a spice grinder or blender until they're powder.  Peanut powder is my newest find and it adds a wonderful roasted peanut taste along with a wonderful texture to all sorts of dishes.
 3 Tbs of grated unsweetened coconut. Fresh or dried. If dried, add a bit of water to "reconstitute" it before you use it.
  Now for the dressing.
 In a pan heat 1 Tbs of vegetable oil
 When the oil is hot toss in :
 1/2 tsp of cumin seed.
 Once the cumin seeds start to darken, take the pan off the stove and pour the contents over your chopped spinach and nut mixtures.
 Stir it around well then add:
 1 and 1/2 tsp of fresh lemon juice
 1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of sugar.
 Give it another good stir and chill it in the fridge. This salad is best served cold. I have to confess here that I was reallyreallyreallyreally hungry and couldn't wait, so we ate it almost as soon as it was done. We loved it. It was like a warm wilted spinach salad, only better.
So there you have it, a simple fast dish that transforms spinach, peanuts, coconut and Humpday into something special.

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