You’ve probably heard of writer’s block. But is there a term called “a cooking block”? No, not the kind you’d find in a kitchen..you get the idea. Can you tell by the new phrases I’m coming up with that I have a serious case of a writer’s or whateveryoumaycallit block?
There are some days when inspiration is hard to come by and weeks go by without anything interesting to cook and hence without a new post. A cooking block in my case is also a writer’s block. When I started rozkakhana, the intent was to post a recipe a day, at least. That’s what it literally meant…roz, or everyday food. It’s not been that easy, as you can see with the spacing of the posts, but I’m trying to get myself to post at least one a week. Hmm..hafthe (week) ka khana? I did warn you about my writer’s block.
I’m faced with these blocks sometimes, especially when I’m stuck with an ingredient that only gives me enough enthusiasm to take it out of my crisper, stare at it, and put it back. Spinach is one of those vegetables that I cannot get creative with. Everytime I buy fresh spinach from the farmer’s market or the grocery store, the intent is to infuse some healthful bounty in my cooking. But it almost always leads to wilted spinach leaves in the fridge and the same dishes that I end up making out of desperation. I’ve tried Palak Panneer (spinach with cottage cheese) or Andhra style Palak Pappu (from Indira’s blog at Mahanandi that I make quite often), or boring(to me!) Keerai Koottu (Spinach Dal, Tamil style). Don’t get me wrong, there are days when keerai koottu with sambar or kozhambu (stew) is all I will crave for, but it does get tired that those are the only dishes that come to mind.
So it was perfect timing that I tasted this tasty spinach concoction at my friend Aparna’s house. I know, the inspiration sources from friend’s houses sounds redundant, but again, that’s how it almost always strikes. I guess I’m just lucky to have such great cooks as friends. There it was…Aparna’s palak soya sabzi (curry) packed with all the goodness of spinach and the added protein boost with the soy granules. It was tasty of course, as with all of Aparna’s delicacies, but there was another incentive for me to try this dish the very next day. The fact that my son, Nikhil, asked for seconds! Spinach has never been his favorite as I’m sure with many kids, but here he was asking if he could take it for his school lunch. Here’s the recipe…quick, easy and very healthy.
Fresh spinach leaves – a bunch
Red onions – 1
Ginger paste – 1 tsp
Garlic paste – 1/2 to 1 tsp
Soy granules – 1/2 cup
Chili powder – 1 tsp (or less according to taste)
Salt to taste
Oil – 2 tsp
1. Soak the soy granules in water for about 10-15 minutes. Drain and squeeze the water out.
2. Take the oil in a pan, add the chopped onion and saute for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the ginger and garlic paste, saute for a few more minutes.
4. Now add the fresh chopped spinach leaves. Stir fry for a few more minutes until the spinach looks wilted.
5. Add the soy granules, salt and chili powder. Cover and cook for a few minutes. Enjoy with chapatis or hot rice.
Optional: You could also add chopped tomato at the last step and cook for a few more minutes. I did not add it here but the dish I tasted at Aparna’s had tomatoes in it.