Tuesday, November 20, 2012

IHCC: Root, Root, Root for Root Veggies!

This week's theme is root veggies, and Madhur Jaffrey's work is full of good things to do with them. It's a busy week so I considered making an old favorite, rather than trying out a new recipe. Let's see, there are the two very good, and frequently made, carrot salads on facing pages in Indian Cooking. There's Indian Mashed Potatoes in Quick & Easy Indian Cooking that I haven't made in a while. There's Potatoes Cooked with Garlic and Sesame Seeds in World of the Easy Vegetarian Cooking. And there are more. But finally I settled on an easy dinner of Easy Chicken Kebabs (Quick & Easy Indian Cooking, p15) and Diced  Potatoes with Spinach (100 Essential Curries, p140).

Aside: Chicken is clearly not a root vegetable, but I will mention that this is a great recipe. It's easy and delicious. I usually skewer the chicken bits and broil them, although they could be served as munchies for a party. I've made this many times, and I have never used the butter or oil for basting. The chicken is moist and tender from the yogurt marinade and we've never missed the fat. Maybe it helps crisp up the outside of the chicken bits, but this has never been a problem for us.

This potato and spinach recipe is somewhat similar to one in Indian Cooking, which I've tried and not especially liked. This recipe looked enough different that I thought I'd give it a try, especially since I had potatoes in the cupboard and spinach in the freezer, both wanting to be used. Jaffrey mentions that fenugreek greens would be preferred for this recipe, but that that's something not available in my neck of the woods. Spinach worked fine, and I suspect any of the strong-tasting greens would be great here.

You start by peeling, chunking, and boiling the potatoes, cutting into 2cm pieces. The recipe says this is equivalent to 1/4 inch, but of course it's not; probably 3/4 inch was meant. My potatoes were not done in the 6 minutes asked; it was more like 10 minutes. While those are cooking, you cook your fresh or frozen spinach, then chop it. Heat a bit of ghee (or vegetable oil) and stir in some black mustard seeds. When they start popping, add some chopped onion and garlic and turn the heat to medium. Stir until the onion begins to brown a bit, then add the chopped spinach. (Actually, the garlic browned well before the garlic, so I think it might be better to add that after the onion starts to soften a bit.) Cook the spinach about 10 minutes; I think this is just getting it very dry. Then stir in the potatoes, some garam masala, cayenne, and salt. I used the maximum amount of cayenne and it was nicely tingly, but not challenging.

Jaffrey's 100 Essential Curries book is a new one around here. I find it a bit odd, since I'm fairly sure there's nothing new here, but repeats of recipes that have appeared in other books. I recognize a fair number of them from books I already have. If anyone recogizes where this potato and spinach recipe comes from, please leave a comment. I haven't found it in a book I already have, but might need a new book based on how much we liked this recipe.

This post is shared with this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs.


  1. Hi Kaye, This is a lovely meal, kebabs with potatoes and spinach. I have seen the book 100 Essential Curries but did not purchase it. I have Simple Indian Cookery and most of the recipes can be found in 100 EC.
    Have a great week!

  2. Great meal, Kaye. Your chicken kebabs sound deliciously succulent, and potatoes and spinach sounds like a great pairing for them.

  3. I've never had potatoes and spinach together, but that sounds really good (I like both... a lot). Nice meal!