I mentioned in a previous post that making some simple south Indian dishes has proven to be useful for my 21-day health challenge, which is focused on a strict vegetable-rich diet that cuts out grains, fatty dairy and processed sugars. One of the dishes I’m relying on is this south Indian spinach dish that my mom used to make for us growing up. Talk about introducing spinach to kids to make them love eating veggies!
Over the last few years, I might have roughly estimated the measurements and veered from her original instructions slightly in making this, but ultimately, it ends up tasting great, regardless.
It’s a healthy and flavorful alternative to its western creamed spinach counterpart, and it’s easy to prepare. I’ve seen most recipes online include toor dal (split pigeon peas) in this recipe, which I don’t, but you certainly can add a few teaspoons of well-cooked toor dal to step 4 below.
Note: You’ll probably have to get the ingredients for the seasoning from an Indian grocery store, and for non-Indians trying this for the first time, keep in mind that asafetida may be a bit of an acquired taste.
Ground Spinach with Seasoned Coconut
(Recipe learnt from Mathura Alladi)
- 2 fresh bunches of spinach or 2 square packets of frozen spinach
- 2 teaspoons urad dal (split and dehusked black gram lentils)
- 4 teaspoons grated coconut
- 2-4 red chilies
- 1/4 teaspoon asafetida/hing
- 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- (Optional) 3-4 curry leaves
- (Optional) 3-4 teaspoons toor dal (split pigeon peas)
- Salt to taste
- Cook the spinach in a covered pan using just enough water to cover the spinach.
- As the spinach is cooking, prepare the seasoning in a separate small saucepan by heating a teaspoon of oil and roasting the mustard seeds until they begin to splatter. Then, lower heat to low-medium and add cumin, urad dal, asafetida (hing), red chilies, and curry leaves until dal turns golden brown.
- Save a little bit of this seasoning off to the side to top the dish for later.
- Once the spinach is cooked, pour it into a blender with most of the seasoning and blend together the grated coconut, seasoning and cooked spinach.
- Once blended, place the blended mixture back into the pan and cook a few more minutes until the smell of raw coconut disappears.
- Top with the seasoning you saved from step 2 and serve.