Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Posto diye Palong Shaak Bhaja (Stir Fried Spinach with White Poppy seeds)…green,green, gone!!

Posto diye Palong Shaak Bhaja (Stir Fried Spinach with White Poppy seeds)simple, easy, differentan ingredient list that is not a mile longnext to no prep requiredthe “eat your greens” box checkedreally, what more could you ask for?? And Oh yes – delicious too!! J




Posto diye Palong Shaak Bhaja (Stir Fried Spinach with White Poppy seeds)


Ingredients:


  • Spinach leaves, washed and tough stems discarded, roughly chopped and water completely drained out, 400gms (this dish doesn’t work with frozen spinach, only fresh leaves would do. I use pre-washed baby spinach leaves – less cleaning up to do)
  • Raw peanuts, a handful or Bori/Dal Vadi/ Dried Lentil Dumplings, a handful (optional)
  • Garlic, finely chopped/sliced, 3-4 cloves (or more)
  • Whole Green Chilies OR Whole Dried Red Chilies, 2-3
  • Kalo Jeera/ Kalonji/Nigella seeds OR Panch Phoron/Bengali 5 spice (recipe here), ½ tsp 
  • Posto/Khus Khus/ White Poppy Seeds, 4 tbsp (I roughly use about a tablespoon for every 100gms of spinach – you can use less or more)
  • Red chili powder, to taste (I normally skip)
  • Salt, to taste (be careful with the salt because spinach is salty by itself)
  • Sugar, ¼ to ½ tsp (or to taste or skip it – refer to notes)
  • Oil, 1-2 tbsp (preferably mustard oil)


  

Instructions:


Heat the oil in a large pan/wok/skillet. Fry the peanuts(or bori) till they change colour to light golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside.

In the same pan, on low heat, add in the nigella seeds (or panch phoron) followed by chilies and garlic.

Fry for about 15-20 seconds and then add posto (refer to notes), sugar and salt. Stir for a minute or so.

Add in the spinach leaves. Toss and mix well to ensure the spinach gets coated with the oil in the pan.

Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes without adding any additional water.

Uncover and cook till all the water released by the spinach has nearly dried out.

Garnish with fried peanuts and serve with steamed rice and dal.


Notes:

  • You can either add posto right in the beginning as above or right in the end. We like it better when lightly fried in the beginning as above but if you want to add it later -  EITHER sprinkle posto when spinach is nearly done, mix well  and then cook for about 2-3 minutes OR soak posto for about an hour in warm water. Drain using a tea strainer and then mix well with spinach once you switch off the heat.  Each method would taste slightly different – try all and see which one you prefer. J
  • Though not done traditionally, I like to add onion to this. It adds a subtle hint of sweetness and without adding the sugar. Skip nigella seeds and add a finely sliced onion instead. Add posto and proceed as above once the onion starts to caramelize.
  • Traditionally, fresh green chilies are used with nigella seeds and dried red chilies with panch phoron.
  • Skip peanuts and bori and add cubed and seasoned fried eggplant a couple of minutes before switching off the heat. You can skip the posto as well if adding eggplant.
  • Same preparation works well with Laal Shaak/Amaranth leaves  and even Kale.