Thursday, April 01, 2010

Palak Kadhi -- Spinach in a spicy Yogurt Sauce

I have this low feeling this week, you know the kind of feeling that you are not doing anything worthwhile and the world is heavily deprived because you are not doing anything worthwhile, kind of feeling

But then that is not worth writing here, so I will write about Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution instead, just to get it off my chest.

The weird part is, I didn't even watch Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution because I didn't know anything about it . But bear with me and you will be rewarded with nuggets of wisdom.

It was not until Saturday morning when the Dad started quizzing BS on random objects from the refrigerator that I got curious. The Dad was visibly worried about these kids in Huntington, Va who couldn't tell a potato from a tomato and had never seen a broccoli head. These kids belonged to families who ate fried donuts for breakfast everyday and had never seen food being cooked from raw ingredients. For them food source was the frozen section of the refrigerator. School lunches in this town was no better and pizza and nuggets were the staple.

I was so in awe by this whole idea that I didn't even scorn the Dad for watching Hulu while claiming he was doing "work" work down in his office.

Imagine there are families where the Parents do not chop, stir, cook, thus wasting their time to provide a meal. Instead they take out a pretty cardboard box from the freezer, zap it in the microwave or dunk them in hot oil and serve it up. I am sure the Mothers in these families are not like me and they are using their time for much more worthier causes than mine.

I am sure the School committee or whoever decides on the school lunches are also very competent and probably deciding on a rigorous curriculum while they think a pepperoni pizza counts for 2 grains and a vegetable !!!

Apparently Mr.Jamie Oliver does not like the whole idea. He does not like fried donuts for breakfast or obese 7 year olds for lunch(sic!). He wants them to eat food from scratch and we will see what happens. To know more, Topeka search for Jamie Oliver Food Revolution or catch the show on ABC Friday 9/8c

While in my slumped state I will just proceed to make a very simple dish, a Palak Kadhi, spinach in a yogurt gravy if you wish.

This is not exactly what I had planned on cooking. I wanted to cook a Khatta Palak that I had from a friend's lunch box. The recipe that she gave me was however so simple and sketchy that I was sure I would screw it up.

She said "Cook Spinach with green chillis and little rice in the Pressure cooker. Beat Yogurt with chickpea flour till there are no lumps. Season the yogurt with salt and red chili powder. Add the yogurt to the cooked spinach and rice and mix well. Add a pat of butter and enjoy the dish"

I couldn't believe that something so simple could taste so delicious and didn't attempt the recipe. Instead I made Palak Kadhi. With my bag of frozen spinach(ewww, not from scratch, losing points here), this kadhi was done super quick. It is just like regular kadhi but with spinach in it. It tastes great with rice but I will often eat this just by itself.

Here I must say that this seasoning that I use for my Kadhi these days is inspired by Hooked on Heat(who has a wonderful blog and has a book coming out). My Mom just used mustard seeds, red chili and a little ginger for her Kadhi but I love the additional flavors that Hing and Kasoori Methi brings along.


Palak Kadhi

What You Need

Chickpea Flour/Besan ~ 1/4 cup

Thick Yogurt ~ 2 cups
Water ~ 1 cup

Spinach ~ 1 & 1/2 cup of frozen chopped spinach or 2 cups chopped fresh spinach

Cumin Seeds/Jeera ~ 1 tsp
Fennel Seeds ~ 1/2 tsp
Mustard Seeds ~ 3/4 tsp
Hing ~ 1/8 tsp
Dry Red Chili ~ 2 broken

Kasoori Methi ~ 1tsp
Red Chili Powder ~ 1/2 tsp
Turmeric ~ little

Water ~ 1/2 -1 cup
Oil ~ 2 tsp
Ghee ~ 1 tsp

How I Did It

If using fresh spinach, cook 2 cups of chopped spinach in pressure cooker or microwave with 2-3 green chili. If using frozen chopped spinach, which I did, just defrost 1&1/2 cups of spinach.

In a bowl add
2 cups of thick yogurt and beat well.

To it add
1/4 cup of Chickpea flour/Besan and 1 cup of Water. Whisk until you get a smooth batter with no lumps.

Heat about 2 tsp of Oil in a pot

Temper the Oil with
1 tsp Cumin Seeds/Jeera
1/2 tsp
Fennel Seeds
1 tsp
Mustard Seeds
1/8 tsp Asafoetida/
2 broken Dry Red Chili

When the spices start dancing add the spinach and saute for the next 3-4 minutes.

Lower the heat to real low and slowly add the yogurt mix, gradually mixing the spinach with the yogurt

Crush 1 tsp of Kasoori methi between your palms and add to above. Add a pinch of turmeric and 1/2 tsp of Red Chili powder(more if you want it hot). Add salt to taste. Mix well.

Now add about 1/2 to 1 cup of water and let the gravy come to a boil at low heat. At low-medium heat let the kadhi simmer for 15-20 mins. Add more water if necessary and simmer until the raw smell of chickpea flour is gone.

Adjust for seasoning. I will add a wee bit of sugar at this point. Add about 1/2-1 tsp of ghee, switch off and let the kadhi sit covered for 15-20 mins. If you like it hot add some crushed dry red chili for the effect.

Serve with Rice


  1. Hoping you feel good now. Even I use frozen spinach. methi and etc. Here I rarely find fresh methi so it's better than nothing. :)
    Your kadhi looks so yum and thick. Sometimes i make it with methi.

  2. Hey! you are doing a wonderful job by just being you - a good human being! Do you know how little there are of that species these days ?!

    I lobe kadhi and usually make it with veggies, but never heard of this with spinach - a must try!

  3. I love jamie and my hubby hates him and i tell him that is because he is jeamous bcaus i like the young jamie from the time when he started cooking.
    I too jope you feel better and i am sure after eating this dish you are feeling much better.

  4. delicious kadhi recipe...take care

  5. palak kadhi ..onek noton rokom er dish ..and eating healthy is very essential ..schools in England have proper meal plans and I haven't come across obese kids in my daughter's school ..I think obesity is catching up in Indian metroes like anything ,ready-made foods onek easily availale and going to big Mac is in trend these days..
    hugs and smiles

  6. Sandeepa,
    forgot to add-
    keno eyi rokom feel hoye..just be happy and feel good, tumaar onek fan following ache ;)...aro onek kicho likhte pari ..kinto eto open e likhbo na..kushi apne andar se hoti hai , hum ose kyon bahar dhonte hai..just think..
    hugs and smiles

  7. I have marked it on my calendar(if one exisits, the busy person that I am!?) to watch Jamie's show. I thought the first show was this friday, I'll catch the earlier ones on Hulu.

    I get the same anxiety your DH got now and then, ask DD2 to name the vegetables when she comes grocery shopping with me.

    Before I forget that Palak Kadhi is indeed delicious and easy to make, now that I am a kadhi expert.

    Sad the people that don't have access to fresh vegetables and even sadder are folks who eat packet dinners for convenience.

  8. Hey we all get bogged down sometimes and have a hard time choosing to be positive dear....SO you need to shift the focus elsewhere. Try to appreciate little things in life.....believe me erokom bhable shottyi khoob halka lage nijeke....Ami o chakri charar por nijeke khoob useless feel kortam ar kichu e bhalo lagto na tar por yoga, hobbyclasses join korar por there was no looking back. So cheer up!!!

    ami kadhi khoob pochondo kori. Tadka te hing ,methi aro onek kichu add korte bhalo lage. Next time spinach diye try kore dekhbo.


  9. My mom was telling me about that show, I could hardly believe it! It's awful, being overweight and malnourished at the same time! The gravy looks yum!

  10. Thank god in my area, they serve some whole wheat rolls to organic fruits for lunch! The meal is quiet healthy and well planned, probably because of our healthy/fit Governor :)
    U sound low key, is that a April fool prank like Topeka or the wet weather?
    The spinach in yogu is something new!

  11. hugs!

    I cook kadhi a lot, but am not too fond of a heavy pakora wali kadhi. This sounds like something I am going to like.

    at my home.. DD1 is really good with naming veggies (yeah we do the drill too :-) ), but DD2 will call mushrooms, as marshmallows once in a while :-)

  12. Palak kadhi is one of my fav' way to eat greens.

  13. reading ur piece i was just wondering which age was actually good...Modern comforts have made us toatlly chained to suck the last drop of ease. Life has really become too easy...But on the other hand life is getting shorter due to the maladies.....still we have to feel better and fight...

  14. Makes me shudder to read it. School children in some states get midday meals here, supposed to be freshly cooked, but of course, they have their own flaws!

  15. Yet another beaut recipe to try.Am going in search of some spinach.What does kasuri methi really do?Does it make a difference to the taste?Then I must search for that too.Love Jamie and waht he is doing.

  16. I used to watch Jamie Oliver way way back then, but now I have totally lost touch.
    Love yogurt based gravies, but I mess it when it is heated.

  17. I think frozen veggies are exception to the rule. I have never made a kadhi, ie adding chickpea flour to yogurt. Neither have I ever used kasoori methi for seasoning. :(

  18. Simple ingredients and simple process make heartening food and this is another example. Haven't combined curds with any greens till now. Will give this a try! I found it to be shocking even in India the culture of buying frozen food has started to root everywhere and I find my neares "foodworld"'s frozen section constantly being updated!

  19. hey hii..

    aami just notun notun ranna sikhchi and its gr8 doing your Palak kadhai aamar ma super impressed hoye gailo :)lol ..
    ma jane ne there's a bong mom on net who's helping me learn cooking :)
    thanks agn

  20. Oh yumm..i love kadhi..i should try this soon!

  21. OMG!!! Donuts for bkfast and pizza for lunch??? Is that for real? Scary!
    Even here in India, people have started talking about childhood obesity. Something that was unheard of a few years back.

  22. Hey Sandeepa, I was completely off blogging for a month and a half. And I returned today with guess what - palak ki kadhi! Decided to catch up on some of my favourite blogs and reached here!
    Realised that we have similar recipes, with a slight difference in spices.
    Hope things are going fine with you. Am still to post on the Paneer Kofta Pulao... hope to do so soon.

  23. This was a great dish. Thank you.

  24. Hey San, we're still here in Bangalore. Moving mid-March now. And not to NJ but to Collierville, TN. In a way I'm glad coz it's a new part of the country for us and I have that to look forward to. Packing, sorting etc going on. Will keep you posted. You in India now? Saw your Vinod Dua comment.

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