This is a wonderful recipe that belongs to my mum. I have never been an avid eater of spinach. Actually, I mostly try and avoid it. But this particular dish is so yummy that I can help but eat a few bowlfuls.
If you are somebody who cannot stand that distinct smell and taste of spinach, then this dish is worth a try, because by the end you will really not be able to tell that you’re eating spinach! It’s tangy-ness hits the back of your palate, the balance of sweet and salty and the crunch of the nuts under your teeth, is a delight both taste and texture wise.
This is a great soup when you’re feeling sick (spinach is great for strength. Remember Popeye? Its full of anti-oxidants, vitamins and iron) or when you’re looking for something exciting to go with your meal.
(Although I’m calling it a soup, back home in India this is a ‘bhaji’ or vegetable to be eaten either with roti or rice.)
What you need:
300 gm of Spinach leaves (stalks cut)
7-8 cloves of garlic pounded/ finely sliced
a small piece of ginger grated / finely sliced
half a cup of cashew nuts (I personally prefer peanuts instead of cashews)
2 tbsp gram flour (if gram flour is hard to find, you can use regular flour instead, but it will compromise on the flavour a little)
2 tbsp tamarind pulp (or better still, a lemon-sized portion of fresh tamarind)
4 cups of water
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
1 tsp fennel seeds
For the Tadka (or garnish)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp hing
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garlic paste (or 2 cloves of garlic pounded)
1/2 tsp dried corriander powder
1/2 tsp fennel powder
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
(when giving the tadka, try to follow the sequence in which the ingredients are listed)
What to do:
Boil the spinach leaves in 4 cups of water with garlic, ginger and fennel seeds in a pot until soft. Leave it aside to cool.
When cooled, crush the leaves with the back of a wooden spoon (or anything else that is strong) to make them more fine. Add gram flour, tamrind pulp, cashews , salt and sugar. Keep it on sim till the cashews cook.
For the Tadka, heat oil in a saucepan until its really hot. Now add the ingredients in the same order as given above. Switch off the heat when the spices are sufficiently fried (this usually takes a minute).
Now add the the tadka to the soup. Done!
Serve it hot on its own, or as we traditionally do with plain steamed rice or warm rotis.
(Note: Since the soup tends to get thicker as it cools down, add sufficient water and heat the next time you want to eat it. )