bits and pieces

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fresh, Spiced Indian style Spinach, Veggies & Noodles

The result.. to keep you reading..
Apparently I've been getting back to my roots. As some of you may know I do not eat beasts of the land. I do eat seafood (yay sustainable seafood! everyone should check out Living Oceans and Seachoice for more info) but I don't eat chicken or beef or game or piggehs. Why is this blog called the baconator? Go see the 'about me' section. Anyway - like I said, I've been getting back to my roots. My vegetabley roots. The past three meals I've made have been TOTALLY vegetarian bordering on vegan.  I'm not sure what's going on here but as long as I keep eating this well I don't care.

Part of this was certainly inspired by a recent trip to/mauling of my local indian grocery store. For those of you in Regina - go to India Food Centre on Vic for all of your subcontinent spice related needs. The owner (Tony, I think) is SO nice and really helpful. For those of us who didn't grow up with things like fenugreek seeds and asafoetida - the world of Indian cooking can be REALLY intimidating. But honestly - it's really no more complicated than Italian. Things like basil, thyme and rosemary are just more familiar. The recipes might seem long and intimidating but really they're pretty simple just with a bunch of ingredients. The good news? Most of the spices are really cheap. Especially if you go to your local indian/pakistani/desi grocery store. The bad news? If you want to go balls-to-the-wall with your Indian cooking you might need to turn your spice rack into a spice cupboard. But for what it's worth I got EVERYTHING I could think of from curry leaves to cardamom to black mustard seeds PLUS a giant bag of samosas and a small bag of terrifying looking chiles and it came to under $40. NOT BAD considering I practically assaulted the store with shopping. I now have 2 spice-rub-condiment shelves (spice-rub-condiment sounds unnecessarily naughty), a spice box, and an indian-jamaican-asian spice tub. I haz problem.

the noodles of curry!!
The other super awesome part of this meal was my noodle choice. Obviously noodles aren't particularly indigenous to indian cuisine. HOWEVER, immediately prior to my attack on India Food Centre I had gone to the first Regina farmer's market of the year. I was only half impressed. It's early in the season and spring has been weird so there wasn't a lot of produce and ALL of the meat was frozen (which I get but I fantasize about going to the market and buying fresh meat. I am a savage who romanticizes markets, I know). However, there was one delightful booth which sold delightful things like grapefruit + vodka jelly (a next time purchase - stay tuned) and lots of homemade noodles. We got the curry noodles which OH MAN are SO good. It's not even that they taste so much like curry... they're just awesome homemade pasta noodles that taste kind of like the best pasta ever but also like curry. These, dear readers, were the motivation for this meal. I'd read the spinach recipe on a great indian food blog Coconut Raita a couple weeks ago and added a few touches and did it up. But seriously, you should probably make this. You might not have everything you need for this in your cupboards but c'mon, go out and get it. You may only use these spices 4 times a year but it will make such a difference in the depth of flavour in your indian food. And whatever, I don't care that people say spices go bad after 6 months - that sounds like a first world lie. I bet little grannies in punjab happily use spices for years on end. DEAL WITH IT. This recipe serves TWO. Or you + lunch for tomorrow.

curry noodles!!! Obviously these might be tricksy to find. If you can't/can't be bothered - I guess the next best thing would be just cooking some linguine and then after draining it tossing it with some oil, curry powder and a little tiny bit of garlic powder. 
2 tbsp oil - I used canola but anything light tasting (grapeseed, cornflower, etc) is fine. 
a small pinch of fenugreek seeds.. much like a bayleaf to italian I find that fenugreek adds a certain je ne sais quoi  to food. You can't really taste it when it's there but you notice when it isn't.
spices n' stufffff
1 onion, diced
1 potato, diced, cooked, cooled (I did this in the water I cooked the pasta in before hand and just scooped the little diced bits out... it should take about 10 mins to cook your potato, no more.. I did this while chopping and measuring the rest of this recipe out)
1 green chili, finely diced. Mine was purchased at the Indian store.. I bought a bag of terrifyingly bright coloured tiny peppers that are REALLY hot. So I only used half. But if you're using a jalapeno or something go with a full one. 
2 cloves of garlic, finely finely minced/crushed
1 tbsp ginger, minced/grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2  tsp red chili powder. My indian expedition left me with 'kasmiri curry powder' which is apparently not as hot but gives a nice depth of flavour. Or so the helpful owner said. So far - two thumbs up. 
1tsp turmeric
1 tomato, diced
100 g of spinach. 100 g of spinach is almost ALL of one of those boxes of baby spinach you buy for making salads. In metric terms it's about 4 cups of dry, uncooked, fresh spinach. I know it looks like soooo much but for those who haven't cooked spinach before - it wilts like old Gil under pressure.
a couple tbsp greek yogurt/raita/sour cream for garnish. I used greek yogurt cuz I loves it and always have it around.

See? Not that bad. It looks really long but the only weird thing is the fenugreek seeds. And read up on these. They're bomb. Chili powder, turmeric, green chiles, and salt are all pretty standard. As are tomatoes, spinach and potatoes. But do yourself a favour and DON'T buy your spices at the grocery store. Take the time and find an ethnic store - cheaper, more, better, local. Win, win win, win. 
other things you will need: 
  a pot to cook your pasta + potatoes in
a big frying pan/wok to cook the rest in.
  1. Cook your potato + pasta, run both under cold water and set aside. 
  2. Heat your oil in your frying pan/wok over medium heat and add your fenugreek seeds. Cook for a minute or two and listen to the sizzle. Don't get burned. Add your onion and saute for a few minutes until they're translucent and just starting to show a little colour.  Add your potatoes and cook for a minute or two. Let them fry up just a little bit. If you need to, add a splash more oil. The end result isn't oily at all but you want your potatoes to have a different texture from the rest.
  3. Add your garlic, ginger and chile and cook for another minute or two. This will start to smell nice. 
  4. Add the turmeric, chili powder and salt. Stir well and cook for an additional minute.
  5. Add tomatoes and cook for another minute or two until they start to soften. Looks pretty good right?
    So tasty, so pretty, and eerily, creepily healthy.
  6. FINALLY - add your spinach. If you have a lid handy - cover and cook for a couple minutes. If not just stir around. Don't over cook. This should only take 2 - 3 minute MAX to cook. Stir stir stir.
  7. Remove from heat and spoon into bowls. In the emptied wok toss your noodles for a minute or two until they're hot. Swirl them over your spinach-tomato-potato mush and top with a dollop of greek yogurt/raita/sour cream (don't if you're being all vegan-y). 
  8. Eat. Enjoy. You're such a vegetarian now.


  1. I can taste the deliciousness by simply viewing your photos! Mmm... Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for reading! I'm hoping to get back to posting more vegetarian food!