Wednesday 30 July 2014

Potato or Aloo Palak (உருளைக்கிழங்கு பாலக் கறி)

Spinach is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins mainly vitamin A, minerals especially iron and potassium, and anti oxidants. Spinach helps to prevent constipation and stomach ulcers. Pasalai keerai (பசலை கீரை) is Indian spinach, which has large dark green leaves with a thick stack (red or green). When you cook pasalai it gets sticky. Whereas, Delhi palak (பாலக் கீரை) is different from pasalai - It also has large green leaves, but with a thinner light green stalk and the leaves are crisp. There are several palak recipes, palak paneer being the most popular one. Potato palak is a spicy palak dish. Give it a try.

Ingredients: (Serves four)
Delhi palak – cut into small pieces, 4 liter measure*
Potato – medium sized, 3 no
Onion – 1 no, sliced
Tomato – 1 no, cut into small pieces
Ginger – 1” piece, grated
Jeera – 1 teaspoon
Oil – 2 tablespoons
Salt – to taste
Coriander powder – 2 teaspoons
Cumin powder – ¾ teaspoon
Garam masala – 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder –½  teaspoon
Red chilli powder – 1 teaspoon

*Choose a vessel that would hold 4 liters of water to measure palak quantity. You may use a standard fridge water bottle of 1 liter capacity and fill a large vessel with four bottles of water. Use the water level as an indicator for the 4 liter measure. Usually 3 bunches of palak would be equvivalent to this quantity. 

How to clean palak: Delhi palak has large leaves with a stalk. Separate the leaves of the palak. Cut them into smaller pieces. Soak the cut palak in large quantity of water for 5-10 minutes. Leaves float on the surface. Remove the leaves with your hand and discard the dirty water. Repeat this process 2-3 times, before cooking palak.

Potato or Aloo Palak (உருளைக்கிழங்கு பாலக் கறி)
Method:  Cut palak into small pieces, wash well and drain. Cover and cook with little water for approximately 5 minutes. Palak cooks very fast. Once cooked, switch off the fire and allow it to cool. Mash the palak in a liquidizer into a fine paste. 

Cook potatoes in a pressure cooker for 5 minutes or 5 whistles. Switch off the fire. Once the pressure subsides, remove potatoes and allow them to cool. Later peel the potatoes, and cut them into cubes. Prick the potato cubes with a fork. Mix required salt, turmeric powder and 2 teaspoons of oil. Coat the potato pieces well with this mixture in a microwave safe bowel. Cook for 2 minutes in micro-high. Remove from the oven and keep aside.

Heat the remaining oil in a kadai, add jeera and when they start to sputter, add onions and fry till they become transparent. Now add tomato pieces, coriander powder, cumin powder, red chilli powder and required salt. Cover and cook on low flame till oil separates. Now add garam masala powder and sauté for a minute. Add the mashed palak, potato pieces, ginger and salt as needed. Mix well. Cover and cook on low flame till the contents boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes and switch off the fire. Serve hot with roti or chappati and onion salad.

Note: Palak requires lesser quantity of salt when compared to other vegetables. 

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