I’m only four days into this monthlong cooking challenge, but I’m getting ready to entertain for some friends tonight.
Instead of going out to eat — we almost always eat in with this family, though — I’m cooking chicken korma and this saag aloo, which we ran in the paper a week ago. I picked up most of the ingredients at the store earlier this week, but I need to stop by Whole Foods and grab some cumin seeds on my way to pick up the kids from school.
Full disclosure: I’m using korma sauce from a jar. Why? Because it tastes good and saves time.
Remember done is better than perfect, in life or a cooking challenge.
Saag Aloo (Spinach with Potatoes)
Potatoes are often added to vegetable dishes for bulk and texture. This north Indian dish is popular in Indian homes as well as in restaurants because of its striking color, creamy taste and the wide availability of spinach. If making this in advance, add the spinach at the last minute when you reheat the curry.
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
1 fresh green chili, diced
1 tsp. ginger-garlic paste (or 1/2 tsp. minced of each)
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 tsp. garam masala
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 lb. fresh spinach, washed, drained, and finely chopped
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over high heat, add the cumin seeds and cook for 10 seconds until they darken. Add the onion and chili and cook for 5 to 6 minutes until soft.
Stir in the ginger-garlic paste and tomato and cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until mushy.
Add the garam masala and the potatoes and season with salt. Add enough water to barely cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Add the spinach, adjust the seasoning to taste, heat through and serve. Serves 4.
— From “The Indian Cooking Course” by Monisha Bharadwaj (Kyle Books, $39.95)