Sunday, May 31, 2015

Raw Spinach, Coconut, and Peanut Salad, A South Indian Side Dish.

   I wasn't doing a whole lot of cooking from January through mid April. Having chemo, and a lot of doctors visits didn't exactly put me in the mood for cooking and entertaining. I just didn't have the energy or the appetite. Now that I've been done with that for a month and a half, I have gotten my energy and my appetite back. Last weekend we decided to have a couple of very close friends over so that I could break out  my cooking skills again. Normally at our house we do a LOT of entertaining. There's always someone here to sample the latest thing I'm experimenting with, so it felt really weird getting back behind the stove again and cooking for a group. But you know what? Cooking is a lot like riding a bicycle or roller skating (a lot safer than roller skating) and once I was rattling my pots, pans, and clay again I found myself back in business.

   I decided to make the menu simple, and light for the holiday weekend. I made a selection of vegan dishes and then took Kheemah and shaped it into individual sausages for grilling. Sort of like hot dogs, but not. That way, I figured Alan could grill the final product while I concentrated on the vegetables. So, what I'm going to be featuring here are the various things I fixed for that meal. Fast, easy, and healthy, they fit into any sort of entertaining plans and are regularly served at our house, company or not.
   The easiest of these is an Indian raw spinach salad that's easily put together with any bag of pre-washed spinach in just a few minutes.

Raw Spinach, Coconut, and Peanut Salad,  aka Palak Koshimbar

Here's What you Need:
2 bags of  chopped prewashed spinach or 6 cups
2 Tbs coconut or vegetable oil
6 Tbs of fresh grated coconut, or dry unsweetened grated coconut moistened with a bit of water
4 Tbs of ground peanuts
1 tsp of cumin seed
a pinch of hing (asafoetida) (optional)
3 tsps lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt1/2 tsp sugar

Here's What to Do:
Wash and dry your spinach, then chop it.

Mix the spinach, coconut and peanut powder together in a large bowl.

In a small pan heat the coconut or other vegetable oil.

When the oil is hot, add in the cumin seeds.
Cook them until the cumin seeds darken a bit (just a few seconds actually).

Then add in your pinch of Hing if you are using it.
Pour the oil and spices over the spinach mixture in the bowl.

Stir everything together then add in the lemon juice...

Sugar and salt.

Mix again, and that's it you are done.

Pop it into the fridge to chill a bit and serve when you're ready.

   That's it! It couldn't be easier or more delicious. You see why I included this dish in my first big back in the kitchen day? It's an easy make ahead (a few hours ahead ) dish which always helps. Coming up next, a picnic ready Indian Potato Salad Sookhe Aloo. It's another make ahead dish, easy, vegan, and gluten free. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

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