Both from Anjum Anand’s Indian Vegetarian Feast. Both reproduced here without any permission at all, but will happily remove if Ms Anand or her publisher requests it (emails to southside socialist at hotmail dot co dot uk).
Lemony Spinach & Vegetable Hotpot
20g root ginger, (peeled weight)
3 fat garlic cloves, peeled
4 large tomatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 rounded teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 rounded teaspoon garam masala
salt, to taste
1 large-ish carrot, peeled and chopped into 2 cm pieces
1/2 large aubergine, cut into 2 cm pieces
1 potato, peeled and cut into 2 cm pieces
4 tablespoons bengal gram, soaked for two hours, or as long as possible
500g baby spinach, washed
15g dill fronds, roughly chopped or 25g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves, crumbled between your fingers
1-1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Using a stick blender, blend together the ginger and garlic with a little water until smooth. Set aside. Again using the stick blender, blend the tomatoes until smooth. Set these aside as well.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the onion and cook until just soft. Add the blended ginger and garlic and cook until the liquid has dried up and the garlic turns lightly golden. Add the tomatoes, spices and salt and bring to the boil; simmer for five minutes.
Add the carrot, aubergine and potato and give the pan a good stir. Sprinkle over the drained lentils, but do not stir them in. Place the spinach, herbs and fenugreek on top and pour in 200 ml of water. Without stirring the pan, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer on a gentle flame until yieldingly soft, around 1–1¼ hours.
Uncover and, if you like, mash the vegetables and spinach together until homogeneous (this is how the authentic recipe is made; some prefer to leave the vegetables whole). Add the lemon juice to taste and adjust the seasoning. Simmer off any excess water as the stew cooks for another 15 minutes and becomes creamy, then serve.
Keralan Coconut Curry
400g sweet potatoes, peeled, in 3 cm chunks (or other starchy veg – I sometimes use butternut squash and/or carrot)
100g greens or spinach, washed and shredded
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
3-5 green chillies, whole but pierced with the tip of a knife
25g root ginger, finely chopped, (peeled weight)
5 fat garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 small tomatoes, chopped
salt, to taste
1/2-2/3 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
3/4-1 teaspoon ground cumin
400ml creamy coconut milk
1/2-3/4 teaspoon tamarind paste, dissolved in a little hot water, to taste
3/4 teaspoon garam masala, or to taste
knob coconut cream
lots freshly ground pepper
Put the sweet potatoes on to boil and cook until just done; it should take around 10 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan and add the mustard seeds. Once the popping diminishes, add the onion and green chillies and sauté for two to three minutes or until just softening, then add the ginger and garlic; sauté these gently for one minute. Add the tomatoes, salt, turmeric and ground coriander and cumin and keep sautéing for four to five minutes. Now taste; it should seem harmonious and the tomatoes should be soft but still retain their form.
Add the coconut milk and a splash of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for five to seven minutes. Add the greens and cook for a few minutes, then add the drained sweet potatoes, the chickpeas, most of the tamarind, the garam masala and coconut cream. Taste, adjust the seasoning, adding more tamarind to taste, and serve.