As a child who was subjected to over-cooked and watery spinach- with its strong irony taste vaguely reminiscent of bitter blood and in that state of damp socks- you can understand a prejudice. And, like other prejudice, it’s rather unjust.

Stir in to your vindaloo for a real boost of taste ©Timothy K Hamilton; Image Credit: Flickr
Spinach is a valuable vegetable which is in season for the whole year providing fresh flavour, vitamins and colour in a most neglected way. It is peculiar, I find, to note that Swiss Chard with its bright stems is becoming the vogue ingredient in such establishments desiring to be seen to be vogue. Seldom though does its even humbler cousin take centre stage which must be to our shame.

In this weather (i.e. the predicted forty hours of Siberian-esque snow) it would be sensible to make use of a vegetable which is still in the garden. One method and which will warm the body and soul must be to make a curry with it.

Goan Vindaloo
Dissect into twelfths two fair sized onions. Open a tin of chickpeas and wash in a sieve. In a large saucepan heat some butter until it froths. Butter is delicious, it gives the best flavour to fry with and a deeper, richer golden hue to the food unobtainable really with oil, and should be used for any of these recipes which require frying unless stated otherwise. Moreover the saturated animal fats increase serotonin production, so will make for happier as well as better fed.

As it does so, put in the onions and stir occasionally until they have lost their raw edge, and become generally translucent. At such point dollop in a large tablespoon of curry paste. There are many good brands available but I check on the label to see if sugar and salt are being deployed over necessarily to bulk out flavour.

Cook the paste out until the onions have taken on a orange glow, at such point put in the chickpeas and coat in the oils, turn the heat down low and pour in a glug of wine vinegar.

Sour and Hot is a combination well attested in Vindaloo, a real curry of Goa. The fumes will clear away any cold. Cover with water, stock or coconut milk (I find creamed coconut is a valuable store cupboard ingredient and a tablespoon would more than suffice in this dish), put the lid on loosely and let it simmer for fifteen minutes stirring occasionally to avoid it sticking.

It is done when the liquor is thicker and substantially reduced. Season with salt to taste. When this is achieved put in a very large handful of washed spinach and clamp the lid down allowing the vapour to wilt the leaves turn up the heat to full. This will be a matter of a minute. Stir in the wilted leaves and serve. Feasibly with rice, or an Indian bread, but the Chickpeas are starch enough for me.

Hopefully you might find here a new perspective on that poor, green thing and let it occasionally take centre-plate. For such little input from the cook, it returns so much in flavour and aesthetics. If you still find it has a bitter taste try adding a little lemon juice which can redeem many a kitchen flop. So let the frumpy spinach have a dance, it might shock you with its high kicks.

Here goes the recipe of Prawn Balchao. Check it out and do give it a try. Serves: 3 Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Ingredients Prawns- 500gms (medium sized) Onions- 4 (finely chopped) Ginger- 1 inch piece (sliced) Garlic- 6 pods (finely chopped) Curry leaves- 8-10 Salt- as per taste Oil- 2tbsp For Masala Paste Kashmiri red chillies- 10 Ginger- 1 inch piece Garlic- 6 pods Cumin seeds- 2tsp Coriander seeds- 1tbsp Turmeric powder- 1tsp Tamarind- a small ball Vinegar- 2tbsp Procedure Remove the shell and clean the prawns thoroughly under running water. Marinate the prawns with turmeric powder, salt and keep it aside for 15 minutes. Grind all the ingredients together listed under ‘masala paste’ in a grinder, into a thick paste. Heat one tablespoon of oil and fry the prawns in it for 10 minutes on a low flame till it turns golden brown in colour. Once done, transfer the prawns to a plate and keep it aside. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan. Fry the curry leaves, chopped onions, sliced ginger and chopped garlic. Saute for 4-5 minutes on medium flame. Add ground masala paste and fry for 5-6 minutes. Now mix the fried prawns and stir for 5-6 minutes. Add salt and a little water if required. Cook for another 5 minutes on a medium flame. Once done, switch off the flame and serve. The delicious Goan delicacy Prawn Balchao is ready to be served. Enjoy this awesome seafood recipe with bread or steamed rice.

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Goan fried pork recipe (bhooni)
Created by Joe Da Silva

3.5/ 5 stars 10 Votes
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 15 min(s)
Cook Time: 50 min(s)
Serves 4

700 g pork rashers*, skin on, cut into 3 cm pieces
4 potatoes, cut into 3 cm cubes
500 ml vegetable oil
10 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cm-piece ginger, grated
500 ml vegetable stock
¼ tsp salt
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp brown sugar
12 spring onions, chopped
1 bunch coriander

Ingredients :

1 kg chicken
1 tsp. Salt
20 flakes garlic
5″ ginger
½ bunch coriander leaves
4 green chillies
1 tsp. Tumeric powder
1 large coconut (grated)
4 large onions sliced
8 kashmiri chillies
3 cinnamon
2 cardomons(peeled)
1 poppy flower(dagarful) remove seeds
½ nutmeg
2 tbsps. Coriander seeds
½ tsp. Aniseeds(baddixep)
1tsps. Poppy seeds(coscos)
1 mace (potri)
2 tbsps. Ghee
4 large onions (chopped)
10 flakes garlic (chopped)
2 tsps peppercoms
20 cloves
6 tomatoes(cut into quaters)

Preparation :

Clean chicken and cut into small pieces. Apply salt and keep aside. Grind the next 5 ingredients and apply to the chicken. Take a frying pan and roast the grated coconut along with sliced onions till light brown. Grind to a thick paste and keep aside. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and roast chilies lightly.

Transfer to a plate. In the same pan, roast the next 6 spices slightly. Mix the roasted chilies. Next, sprinkle a little oil if necessary, and roast coriander seeds, mace, aniseed and poppy seeds very lightly. Grind all the roasted spices together to a fine paste. Take a large pan, melt ghee, fry onions and garlic till tender.

Add marinated chicken, cover the pan and cook till tender. Mix spice paste and cocounut paste into the meat. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes quarters and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with lemon slices

Ingredients :

550 g headless raw prawns
2 tbsps coconut or white wine vinegar
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsps white poppy seeds or ground almonds
4 tbsps groundnut oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, cut in slivers
1″ root ginger, finely chopped
14 fl oz coconut milk
4 tbsps tamarind water
5 fl oz water
3-5 mild green chillies, seeded and
cut in log thin shreds
2 tbsps chopped coriander

Preparation :

Peel the prawns. Mix the prawns with the vinegar and half a tsp of salt and leave for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile put the turmeric, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and white poppy seeds into a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.

Heat the oil in a medium sized pan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry gently for five minutes. Stir in the ground spices and fry for 2 minutes.

Add the ground almonds( if using) plus the coconut milk, tamarind water, thrre
quarters of the chillies and ½ tsp salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the prawns and simmer for 3-4 minutes only so they dont overcook. Stir in the rest of the sliced chillies and the coriander and serve with some basmati rice.