Food fix

Food fix

Food fix

Spinach, a leafy green vegetable that came originally from southwestern Asia, is now grown in most parts of the world. Botanically known as Spinacia oleracia, it belongs to the Chenopodiaceae family. It might interest you to know that spinach is believed to be of Persian origin and the name is derived from the Persian word Esfenaj.

Spinach is considered more nourishing than any other green vegetable. People who suffer from anaemia are advised to eat  spinach not only because of its iron content but because it is so rich in chlorophyll – something that helps raise the haemoglobin content of the blood.

 When buying spinach always pick out leaves that are crisp and dark green. In case you want to use them in a fresh salad it is always better (at least in a tropical country like ours) to blanche them first. You could either do this by washing them and then microwaving the leaves for 10 seconds or by dropping the leaves in a pan of boiling water for a few seconds. Make a tasty, colourful and low-cal salad by spreading a layer of spinach leaves and topping them with cherry  tomatoes, sliced apples, de-seeded grapes and red and yellow peppers in a yogurt dressing.

Pakoras
Shred the spinach leaves, wash and drain thoroughly. Make a batter with gram flour and a little rice flour for extra crispness. Add salt, chopped chillies or chilly powder and a generous measure of chaat masala. Mix the shredded spinach leaves to make a mixture of dropping consistency. Drop by the spoonful in hot oil and fry till crisp and brown. For an interesting variation, take big spinach leaves, wash and dip each one in the batter and fry till crisp.

Namkeen
Steam the spinach until soft. Add salt, green chillies, a generous pinch of jeera  and garam masala powder and blend until smooth in the mixie. Knead the maida with this spinach pulp instead of water, adding a few spoons of butter/ghee/oil until the dough is smooth but firm. Roll out as thin as you can on an oiled board (it should be thinner than a puri) and either cut into strips or into squares. Deep fry until crisp. For making spinach chaat, roll the dough thin and cut into tiny rounds (bottle tops are fine for this) and pierce them with a fork all over so that they do not swell up like puris. Fry these until crisp. Let them get cool before arranging them on a platter. Top up with boiled and cubed potatoes, boiled green gram, shredded carrot and tomatoes, pour beaten curd over the lot and dust with chaat masala. Serve with tamarind or pudina chutney.

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