The days are gray and cold here, cars are covered with mist and the dull clouds hung in the steely skies, it is raining cats and dogs in California since last weekend. The iciness in the air tickles my skin, as I inhale a lungful of the cold air, my lung gets a glimpse of the outside weather. I got dressed to step out. The strong winds reminded me of the monsoon in India. Before I left, I sat at the kitchen island gathering together the shopping list for the coming week. Normally, we write whats needed on bits of paper kept in the draw next to the refrigerator. S gave me the typical look which warned me that better don’t forget anything and later pester him to go to Savemart to buy 1 or 2 things.
In the farmer’s market, while scanning the stalls for a fresh bunch of spinach, I was asked by a lady clad in brown jacket about cooking with spinach. I smiled back and wondered what made her ask me. May be she has seen me around this place often or may be she has seen me pick bunches of spinach every week.
“Would you mind sharing any easy Indian recipe with spinach?” She asked me.
“Yes, of course” was my reply.
She would have been in her mid 30s and sounded like she had never attempted to cook anything Indian. I started with my tutorial in one corner of the tent with chopping the onions, ginger and garlic. I asked her whether she would love meat in her food. She nodded a yes. I suggested to try with boneless chicken and Indian seasoning. I quickly explained to her about the different spices and how they will look and taste. I recommended her to buy them from ethnic Indian stores. She interrupted me with tons of questions like what is garam masala? Can cilantro be replaced with parsley or basil? What can I serve this curry with?
The creamy chicken will taste tender and juicy by cooking it in low heat and promised to taste great when it thickens. We exchanged our email Ids. She was so excited to try this dish and as we parted we hoped to bump into each other some time in the future. After chatting with the farmer friends who were wrapping their sale for the day, I meandered my way through the crowd. Finally sitting back in the car,I felt proud about sharing my family recipe with a non-Indian home cook. Back in my cosy kitchen, I wanted to create the same dish – Spinach chicken. A delicious gravy cooked with spinach and chicken and simmered with aromatic spices. This is a healthy dish packed with protein and iron.
For those in South beach diet phase 1, serve the spinach chicken with grilled eggplants,peppers and onions with balsamic vinaigrette. For phase 2, serve them with 1/2cup cooked rice or 2 whole wheat rotis/chapattis. This curry is also ideal for women with gestational diabetes. Stick with 1/2cup cooked rice or 2-3 chappatti’s based on your sugar level ( 1 hours after meal). For women with gestational diabetes, always consult with your dietitian before starting any meal plan. I used to walk for 20 minutes after every meal and when the blood test was done after 1hour, my values were below 140 mg/dl.
Chicken curry with tons of spinach
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large red onion – diced
- 4 garlic – minced
- 1" ginger – minced
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken
- 1 pound baby spinach
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- Salt to taste
- Clean and wash the chicken. Chop them to about 1- 1.5 cm cubes. Set aside.
- Wash and clean the spinach. Drain excess water with paper towel and puree them without water.
- Heat oil in a cooking pan on medium flame. Add the onions to the hot oil with little salt. Let the onions sweat. Add the ginger and garlic, cook for further 3-5 minutes.
- Add the chicken, chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Cook for 10 minutes. Don’t add any water, as the chicken would sweat out water in the pan.
- Pour the spinach puree on top, stir and cook covered for further 25-30 minutes. Adjust salt to taste.
- Serve hot with rice or rotis/naan/ chapati.