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Indian Spinach Curry (Malabar Spinach)

Indian spinach (Malabar Spinach) is mostly available during the monsoon. It is very easy to clean and cook and tastes more or less like spinach. This green leafy vegetable is rich in all the nutrients in most green leafy vegetables like calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and vitamin A. It's especially good for women and children who have iron deficiency. It is low in calories and high in fiber. This miracle green leafy vegetable originated in Asia but is now grown in most tropical regions. It is usually cooked but can also be used raw in salads as well as in smoothies.
Recipe Credit: Darshana Muzumdar
Serves 4 as part of a traditional Indian meal

This is one of my favorites. It has all the three simple flavors that make it special: sweet, sour, and spicy. The coconut in it makes it filling so this soup can be had as a meal in itself. It’s also very easy to make and a delicious addition to any meal. Make sure you add enough tamarind to make it delicious. You can use spinach if it isn’t the season for Indian spinach, which is usually the monsoon season.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Indian spinach (Vaali in Konkani, Mayalu in Marathi and Basale Soppu in Kannada)
  • 1 lime sized ball of tamarind soaked in water for 10-15 minutes.
  • 1 tsp washed rice
  • ½ coconut (1 cup) freshly grated
  • 4-6 red chillies (Beydgi variety) adjust according to your preference
  • ¼ cup jaggery (add more or less according to your preference)
  • Salt to taste
  • 8-10 cloves garlic for seasoning
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil

Method

Clean the spinach by separating the stems from the leaves. Wash both separately. Chop the spinach leaves fine and the stems into 2-inch pieces. Put the stems in a pot, add the jaggery and half a cup of water and cook on medium heat till half done (about 3-5 minutes). Add the chopped leaves and continue simmering until the leaves are well cooked. (This cooked spinach can be ground if desired. In that case there is no need to chop it first.) Grind freshly grated coconut, rice, tamarind and red chillies till fine. Add the ground masala to the spinach and add enough water to bring it to a soup consistency. Heat oil in an iron ladle and add the chopped or crushed garlic cloves stirring constantly till they’re light brown. Take care not to let the garlic burn as it does very fast. Add the garlic to the cooked spinach and stir well. Serve hot.

For the Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) version:

Add date paste instead of jaggery but after the spinach is cooked.

For the tempering, Heat an iron ladle and spread a drop of groundnut oil all around to prevent the garlic from sticking to it. Add the chopped or crushed garlic cloves stirring constantly till they’re light brown. This should be done on medium to low heat taking care not to let the garlic burn as it can do so very fast. You can alternatively roast the chopped garlic in an oven at 180 degrees centigrade till brown and keep it in a jar for use whenever required.

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