It gives me great pleasure to write this recipe because it has turned out better than expected!
My friend Sanjay Chadha sent me a set of ceramic pans of the topmost quality and i did not want to use them! They were just too pretty and i thought i would spoil them by adding turmeric powder, spices, etc etc to them. Whats the use of having unused pans??? Specially if your a cooking blogger! So… this lovely Monday morning i decided to make saag aloo (desi style potatoes in spinach ) in a very healthy way, and thought my regular used frying pans would not withstand the cooking without adding extra oil or some water. I wanted to make my recipe with spanish olive oil and that too just a small amount of it and not have my food swimming in a pool of oil or spices. Yes i am still in that mood of trying to cook with minimum spices and using herbs to get flavour out of my cooking.
So…out came my brand new shiny pretty pan and i was all set to give it a shot! A picture speaks a thousand words, so all i am going to do is write the recipe… you all can judge for yourselves. I used olive oil but you can use normal cooking oil, or even butter or ghee. For Jain recipes please omit the ginger garlic and onion… use some cumin seeds and a pinch of asafoetida (hing) instead.
250 grams of potato, cubed (1 medium sized potato)
250 grams of frozen thawed spinach or fresh spinach,chopped
3 plump cloves of garlic
1″ piece ginger
1 onion chopped fine
1-2 green chillies chopped fine
1 red tomato chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon Nitu Didi pure turmeric powder
salt to taste
1 tablespoon of dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) OR 1 cup of fresh fenugreek leaves (methi)
1/2 cup of fresh coriander leaves chopped
2 tablespoons of Spanish Olive Oil (not extra virgen)
1 lovely ceramic pan 🙂
Heat the olive oil in the pan and add the chopped garlic and let it cook for a few seconds till just about turning light brown and then add the chopped ginger and the chopped onions. For Jains please omit this step and use cumin seeds and asafoetida instead.
Once the onions are softened add the salt and let them cook a bit more for about half a minute. Add the turmeric powder and the potatoes and fenugreek. Cover the pan and let the potatoes cook on slow heat (no they will not stick to the pan and nor will they burn) After two minutes check and if they are half done (depends on the quality of the potatoes) add the fenugree, tomatoes and spinach and cook till the tomatoes are soft and the potatoes are done. Add the chopped green chillies, the coriander leaves and cover for about 15 seconds more. Serve hot with naans or chapatis or even some boiled basmati rice.
This is a low fat dish full of vitamins due to the short cooking time, the lack of saturated fats and is naturally flavoured due to the lack of overpowering spices. Sometimes i like the vegetables to have their own natural flavor. The short cooking time of the spinach ensures it doesnt lose its nutritional properties and vitamins. The ceramic pan was the biggest surprise! It did not stick, i did not have to add any water and it did not have any color residue from the turmeric. It is soo pretty one can even serve in it and no need to turn it into another plate so you save washing up!!!!
Thank you soo much Mr. Chadha…small useful things are soo important in life 🙂
NITU DIDI TIP:
This recipe can be also made with paneer(home made fresh cheese) or tofu or even mixed vegetables. For Jains : even tho i do cook with onions, ginger and garlic i do give options for cooking without it 🙂
BENEFITS OF COOKING WITH CERAMIC PANS:
If you are uneasy about trace metals leeching into your food resulting from the heating process, then ceramic will be a reasonably good choice for you. While quite a few metallic types of pots could give off measurable amounts of zinc, cadmium and bits of other potentially unhealthy chemicals, ceramic pots are normally considered the least reactive of cooking surfaces.
To buy ceramic pans do contact me 🙂