As a child, whenever we went to a restaurant for dinner, we ordered the same thing, every time, Aloo Palak, Chana Masala. My parents are EXTREMELY tolerant folks, they ate the same thing, even if their taste buds screamed for a change. I don't remember when I actually sampled something new, probably at a wedding, probably at a friends, but finally, I did discover that there are different types of Punjabi curries and just as delicious as Aloo Palak, Chana Masala.
Every bite of this tasty curry made me wish my parents were here with us to share this simple yet absolutely and delightfully tasty curry with its roots in Bengali cuisine.
These days when ever I find a bit of time, I curl up with Raghavan Iyer's 660 Curries.The book constantly fascinates me! I love the recipes and long to try all of them (the vegetarian ones).
Raghavan Iyer says,
Bengalis refer to 'toasted' or 'roasted' as bhaja. The process of toasting split green lentils in a dry pan not only creates a nutty flavor but also keeps the firm shape of the legume intact, no matter how long it cooks- certainly not the case of its untoasted counterpart, which breaks down to a mushy consistency very quickly. The spinach makes this dish colorful, but if you would like a slightly more bitter flavor - and a higher dose of iron -use mustard greens or kale instead.
Source :660 curries
Makes 4 cups
1 Cup Skinned green lentils/ Moong Daal
1/4 tsp. Turmeric
8 ounces Fresh Baby Spinach, well rinsed
1 tbsp. Canola oil
1 tsp. Fennel seeds (saunf)
1/2 tsp. Whole Cloves
2-4 dried red Thai or Cayenne chiles to taste
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Sugar
1 tbsp. Ghee
Heat a medium size saucepan over medium -high heat.
Add the lentils and toast them, stirring constantly, until they are reddish brown and nutty- smelling, 5-8 mins.
Gently pour in 3 cups of water, stirring vigorously to break any clumps that form. The water will immediately boil because of the heat of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally , until the lentils are firm-tender, 15-20 mins.
Pile the spinach in to the pan, cover it and let the steam wilt the greens, 5-8 mins.
While the greens are wilting, heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in the fennel seeds, cloves and chiles and cook until they sizzle and are aromatic 10-15 secs. Remove the skillet from heat.
When the spinach has wilted, pour the contents of the skillet into the pan. Add salt and sugar.
Continue to simmer the curry, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the flavors mingle,5-8 mins.
Stir in Ghee and serve.