Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Veggie's Delight: Spinach Pulao & Aubergine Curry

Spinach Pulao with Jumbo Raisins, Toasted Almonds and Pomegranate Seeds

&  Aubergine Curry

Type of cuisine: Indian/Vegetarian
Cooking time: 2 hours
Difficulty: medium

Since the last time I cooked Indian was more than a week ago, today I had a craving for a curry, and not just any curry, I felt like having a vegetarian curry.
Vegetarian curries are colourful, zesty, and exciting to cook. Even though it was pretty time-consuming (I spent the bones of two hours baking, frying, chopping, dicing, peeling, grating, crushing, etc :) I was happy at the end when I got to take the pictures and we both enjoyed a very nice meal.

If you have cooked Indian before, you know that there's no Indian dish without spices: cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, cinnamon,  turmeric, saffron, cloves, onion seeds, sweet paprika, and chilly- to name just a few. These wonderful spices are the base of whatever you cook.

If you want to cook them both (it's a very good combination), you must start with the eggplants. Wash them, pierce their skin with a sharp knife and bake them in the oven for 45 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

The Spinach Pulao

In the meantime, deal with the rice. Basmati rice will take more time to steam and it's a good idea to let it soak all the water while you are busy doing other things.
Fry some oil in a medium-size pot, add the spices (cumin, coriander, mustard and onion seeds) and let them pop. Cover with a lid, they are leathal :)
Add two cups of Basmati. Fry and mix with the spices. Pour water to cover and add salt (I used Camargue salt with crushed curry leaves- it's home-made), turmeric, a handful of jumbo golden raisin (yes, be generous) and bay leaves. Let it simmer.

While the rice and aubergines are taking care of themselves, prepare the veggies.

For both dishes, you will need the following vegetables 

a bag of baby spinach 

3 medium-size aubergines/eggplants

3 carrots 

2 red peppers

5 small red onions

 4 cloves garlic

fresh ginger

fresh tomatoes or a can of diced tomatoes

a handful of almonds

jumbo raisins

pomegranates (to decorate)

Going back to the rice, fry a pinch of cumin and onion seeds in the wok and cover.

Cut the two carrots julienne and put them in fry them with the two onions.  Set aside.

Cut the spinach if the leaves are long and fry them in butter.

Toast the almonds.

The wine is just for the show :) I love the reflection mirrored in the black bottle

To finish the Pulao, incorporate the carrot and onion mix with the rice, add the spinach and use a soft rubber spoon to mix. 

Top with toasted almonds and pomegranate seeds. 

Now, with the Pulao out of your hair, the Aubergine Curry will be a piece of cake.

Remove the aubergines from the oven and peel them. Drain and chop. Set aside.

Prepare the curry base: fry the spices (mustard, coriander, cumin, onion seeds- the usual). Add the freshly diced (or grated) ginger, the garlic and the chopped onions (should be the last three).

Add a carrot, two peppers and the diced tomatoes with a spoon of brown sugar, mix the lot, season with a little salt, turmeric, sweet paprika, a pinch of hot chilly, and a spoon of  Madras curry powder.  Reduce.

Can you see the onion seeds on top? They're beautiful.

Work in the chopped aubergines and let them simmer quietly. 

I hope you will enjoy this dish as much as I did. Have it with naan, papadums, raita, or chutney.  

Even though it takes longer to prepare, don't feel discouraged and arm yourself with patience. It took me two hours because it was the first time I cooked these particular dishes.  If you are organised and have all the veggies ready for cooking, you might even spend less time in the kitchen and more time entertaining your loved ones.  Enjoy :))

No comments:

Post a Comment