Friday, 7 February 2014
An Indian-inspired Feast
I've not been a very nice person to live with recently. Anxious. Weepy. Poor Dutchman! So last night I decided to make a bit of an effort, to cheer us both up, to bring a bit of sunshine to the table.
The source of this sunshine was India, via Nigel Slater, via Luisa. The main event was Nigel Slater's wonderful 'chicken with cream and spices', made with a blend of spices-I-had-to-hand including commercial curry powder (gasp!), slowly caramelised onion, bright tomato, and a final stir of cream. Like the lovely, lovely, Luisa in Berlin, we don't get good Indian food here in Brussels. My dinner last night was in no way authentic, in no way a proper curry (cf Slater's own title), but it was just enough, with the trimmings, to feed a need.
To accompany the chicken, I made saffron rice (curiously, saffron is one of the few things which is cheaper here than in the UK), little naans, mango chutney (both bought from the DIRTY FOREIGNERS section of the supermarket), and saag aloo.
Oh saag aloo, I do so love you. Luisa has a recipe for this, and whilst I am sure that method is both authentic and delicious, I ended up doing it a little differently. Kind of befitting the general colonial bastardisation/appropriation of the beauty of true Indian cuisine.
Saag aloo the Belgian way*
For 2, as a side.
- 2 potatoes
- A pinch of saffron
- 1/2 tsp each tumeric and cumin
- 1 shallot
- As much garlic as you desire (I put in a massive squirt from my garlic paste tube, probably about 3 cloves, which was delicious but quite garlicky)
- SPINASH. About 150g.
1. Peel and chop the potatoes into small cubes. Add the potatoes and tumeric, cumin, and saffron to the cold water and boil until tender.
2. Finely chop the onion and gently fry in oil, along with the garlic.
3. Add the drained potatoes to the onion mix and leave aside. Be careful as soft boiled potatoes will fall apart if handled too roughly.
4. Heat a very tiny very small amount of water in a saucepan and start adding spinach, a handful at a time, bashing it about with a fork until it wilts. WILT AT MY POWER.
5. Prepare for serving. I sort of gently layered and folded alternate spoons of spinach and potato mix into a bowl.
6. Eat, and feel well smug cos of all the iron and vitamins and health innit.
* I dread to think of what an actual Belgian interpretation of saag aloo would be. Endive instead of spinach? Speculos to spice? Cooked in beer?