Wednesday, March 18, 2009

An alternate green...

Last year I made corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day. It was my first time making it and I thought it was really good.

Yesterday I made it again and thought it was disgusting. I'm not sure why--I didn't change anything, but this time it struck me as greasy and chewy and just yucky. Maybe it was just the wrong sort of day; if it had been cold and blustery, maybe I would have thought the same meal was comforting. But it was warm and beautiful and I spent part of the afternoon turning over the soil in my garden beds while the girl critter gathered handfuls of earthworms to play with. It really was the wrong thing to eat at the close of such a day.

What I wish I had made yesterday was a different green dish, this fantastic Indian spinach simmered in yogurt.
I can't get enough of this dish--I go back for seconds and then pretty much lick out the pot. I'd eat it for breakfast if there was ever any left over. And happily it is incredibly easy to make. Next year, I'm going to celebrate St. Patrick's day with this alternate green.

Spinach Simmered in Yogurt
adapted from the recipe by Soban Singh Bedla, Vijay Bedla and Peggy Markel in Food & Wine magazine

1 lb baby spinach, washed
2 T canola oil
3 garlic cloves, put through a garlic press
1/2 a jalapeno pepper, de-seeded if you don't want it too spicy, seeds left in if you want the kick
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 t ground coriander
1 t tumeric
1 C plain whole-milk yogurt
1/2 t salt

Put on a large pot of water to boil. When it comes to the boil, plunge in the spinach and let it wilt (it takes maybe a minute). Dump into a colander and rinse with cool water. Squeeze the water out of the spinach and chop coarsely.

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot. Add garlic, jalapeno and ginger and cook over moderate heat until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Add the coriander and tumeric and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the yogurt and the spinach and cook over low heat until the yogurt begins to separate and look a little cottage-cheese-like, about 5 minutes. Stir in the salt, taste and check for seasoning, and serve.

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