Whenever I go for an Indian meal I am forced to make a choice – Saag Aloo or Aloo Gobi……. I couldn’t possibly order two potato dishes – plus rice, that would just be greedy; but I want to!
So last week, as the fancy took me, I started to think about how I could combine these dishes to make one perfect vegetable vista.
I cannot stress the beauty of this meal enough. (without being completely conceited) Spring vegetables just have such a delicious flavour and texture and although this looks quite spicy, all components were present and correct, nothing was overpowering. There are a few deviations on the traditional recipes – this is my version and is in no way intended to be authentic Indian.
As a Spring dish goes, it is actually quite light and perfectly balanced, but heavy enough to satisfy and warming enough to keep your nose running on the colder evenings. It is full of spices which have been shown to be great for the management of Diabetes (through diet) if you eat less of the potato – and it just so happened to be Gluten Free too.
I have broken this down into 3 recipes as each element would work as a stand alone side dish. The Saag can be made ahead (or even the day before).
This would easily serve 4 hungry adults – we are three and some people had third helpings!
This is the simplest of the 3 dishes and is just a modification of a Spinach & Leek sauce that I used to make for my Son when he was younger.
- 3 Medium leeks
- 250g True spinach (the older tougher leaves which have more flavour, if you can get it)
- Half a nutmeg (pounded or ground into a powder)
- 3 Tbsp brown garam masala (see my recipe on an older post)
- 100ml soya or almond milk (unsweetened).
- Olive or coconut oil to fry the leeks.
- Salt & pepper to taste.
- Clean the spinach and leeks thoroughly, set the spinach aside to drain.
- Cut the leeks into discs along the stem – approx 2cm thick.
- Warm the oil in a pan – do not get too hot – especially if using Olive oil. Add the leeks and gently fry – you want these to simmer away at a moderate heat so that they keep their colour.
- Once the leeks have softened – 7-10 mins, add the nutmeg powder and garam masala and stir in well.
- Add the spinach (rough chop this first so that it cooks quickly) and milk and place the lid on the pan, turn heat down to minimum.
- Check after 5 minutes and if all of the spinach has wilted, turn off the heat and replace the lid.
- This can be blended straight away or once cooler, add salt and pepper as needed. That’s it!
I love a potato! The spicing on these went so well with the sweetness of these small spring tubers – of course we ate them all!
- 750g baby new potatoes – not the tiny ones you are going to crush these once boiled (for lightly roasting).
- 3 Medium red onions
- 2 Tsp mustard seed
- 2 Tsp sesame seed
- 2 Tsp turmeric powder
- 2 Tsp cumin seed
- 2 Tsp caraway seed
- 2 Tbsp coriander seed – powdered or crushed
- Handful curry leaves
- 3-6 Green chillies
- Amchoor powder for dusting
- Boil the potatoes until they are soft enough to crush with your thumb. Set aside.
- Slice the onions and gently fry, you want them to soften and to start to brown, set aside.
- Heat the mustard & sesame seed in a dry pan until they start to pop.
- In a large baking dish sprinkle the turmeric powder to cover the based, follow with the cumin and caraway seed and ground coriander then add the mustard and sesame mix and chopped chillies.
The potatoes can be added to the tray and tossed (by hand) through the spice mixture, ensuring even coverage.
Add a good glug of olive oil plus the curry leaves and onions and toss again to coat the potatoes with oil so that they roast.
This can be set aside to roast later – it needs 15-20 mins on approx 180 – use your nose – and turn once or twice whilst roasting.
In the last 5 minutes add a dusting (2 Tbsp) Amchoor powder and return to the oven. This is a delicious zingy sour mango powder which is a perfect pairing for the sweetness of the potatoes.
Cauliflower makes a show once a week in our house when available and organic. This one was perhaps the most handsome cauli I have ever seen – it’s leaves formed kiss curls and the florets were pearl white, so I couldn’t resist a picture before I chopped.
I roasted this before I added the masala and then after with the spices to ensure max flavour and perfect texture – I love raw cauli, but hard cooked cauli is not pleasant.
- 1 Med-large cauliflower, wash, core and cut into florets.
- 6 Med tomatoes, wash, core and chop.
- 2 Garlic cloves
- 3″ piece ginger
- 1 turmeric rhizome (or 2 Tsp powder)
- 2 Tsp cumin seed
- 1 Tbsp coriander seed, crushed or powdered
- Place the cauli florets into a baking dish that will be large enough to add the masala paste to, once cooked.
- Cover with a glug of oil and rub into the curds, put 3-4 Tbsp water into the dish and pace in an oven at 180 degrees C. The addition of the water allows the cauli to steam and soften, then when the water is gone, it will roast in the oil.
- Cook the cauli until the water has evaporated and you can gently stab with a knife – you want them to be cooked, but still have a little bite.
- In a blender, whizz the ginger, garlic, turmeric and coriander seed together, once pasted, add the tomatoes and blend all into a paste.
- Cover the cauliflower with the masala, add salt, a little more oil and sprinkle with cumin seed.
- Roast again in the oven until the tomatoes have reduced and the garlic and ginger have mellowed (approx 15-20 mins) at gas mark 200 C – add more water if longer time s needed in the oven. Check for salt and pepper before serving.