May 1, 2008

Of all the multitudinous varieties of greens that are available (I could not begin to list them…there are so many….!), my favourite is spinach.

I have a very sweet young woman who brings bunches of spinach to my front door. It’s fresh and green and I drool just looking at it….so this time I thought I would photograph it, too.

Just look at it…fresh and so wholesome, deliciousness is written all over it!

spinach 300408

Of course, the bunches generally come attached with what sometimes appears to be most of the soil of Karnataka…washing has to be a careful business, and I take extra care because I am mindful of pesticides, too…

I googled for spinach washers and got either industrial stuff or this patent info

I usually make either a north Indian dish (Palak, with or without panneer or matar or alu), or a very simple south Indian dish, for which the recipe is as follows:

Cut off roots of spinach. Wash thoroughly, and chop not too fine (I generally buy three bunches at a time…what you see in that photo above.) Add some water, and boil with a little salt, just enough, so that the green colour (lovely!) is not lost. (generally, 4 to 5 min.). Drain and reserve the water. Take a little of the spinach and grind it well.

In the water that the spinach has been cooked, and mix in two tbsp of rice flour, and set aside.

Add 1 tsp oil in a pan, and sputter some mustard seeds, and 2 red chillies. Add the boiled spinach and the ground spinach (which, along with the rice flour, will bind the dish together.) Add pounded jeera and black pepper…about 1 tbsp each. Thoroughly mix the rice flour in the water and add to the pan, and let the whole thing simmer for just a minute or two, and switch off the heat.

This is fantastic with vathal kuzhambu and rice….but I could eat it on its own!

Spinach is NOT easily available in Chennai, for some reason, the plant (or herb) doesn’t grow well there. But in Bangalore…it’s just great.

Here’s the Wiki entry for Spinach

And here’s an entire cookbook devoted to it!

It’s obviously high in Chrolophyll , which was once touted as the “fresh-breath” ingredient in toothpastes, prompting one wag to ask this:

“Why stinks the goat on yonder hill… That only feeds on chlorophyll?”

…oh well, jokes apart… here, by sheer coincidence, is an LJ friend’s post

Popeye…you were on to a real good thing, all those years ago! I may not have bulgy arms or one eye or a pipe stuck in my mouth…but…I LURRRV spinach!

I do also like the frozen variety that I can get abroad, which has all the cleaning, chopping and labour removed…I have never tried canned spinach, though.

Here’s the nutrition part

Waiting for all your comments, including all you lurkers!! Do you like it? Do you hate it? How do you eat it or avoid it? Is there anyone who is allergic to it ?

I rarely make food posts….I am not one of those creative cooks, I cook to get by.

And, by the way…that colander in the picture, I have had for 32 years, and the towel, for 12 years….

Next time she comes home, I will photograph Chitra the spinach (and lemons and murungakkAi and sweetcorn in season) seller, and introduce you to her, too.

Oh, and the cost? Three bunches cost Rs.10…that is…about 25 cents…