Yogurt curry with spinach dumplings
The yogurt curry is like hot raita. It is tasty and when had with a bowl of white rice, is a light and easy to digest meal. The lovely yellow color comes from turmeric, a spice with anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory responses. An ingredient is this spice, called curcumin, is now being tested against Alzheimer in scientific studies. The nutrition in the meal comes from the steamed spinach dumplings.
Ingredients for the steamed spinach dumpling (6-8 servings):
- A pack of frozen chopped spinach, microwaved for a few minutes until warm.
- 3/4 cup of besan (de-husked black gram flour). Can be substituted with chickpea flour.
- 4-5 pickled pearl/cocktail onions finely chopped (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp amchoor (mango powder)
- 1 tsp lightly crushed coriander seeds
- 1 tsp paprika
Mix the above ingredients to make a soft dough. Prepare your steamer – I use a bamboo steamer. Make small dough balls with your fist, shape is not terribly important, and steam for 12 minutes. Cool and chop into bite size pieces.
Cook’s reward: Pop a few of these pieces in your mouth while you proceed with the rest.
Variation: If you an find fresh fenugreek leaves, substitute half or all of the spinach with fenugreek. Variation in spicing is practically infinite. Look for muthia recipes on the web – a hand shaped dumpling that is typically eaten as a snack. The highlight of this dish is the curry, so I like to keep the dumpling simple.
Ingredients for the yogurt curry (6-8 servings):
- 1 cup sour yogurt
- 4 cups of water
- 1 medium yellow tomato pureed (optional)
- 1/4 cup besan or chickpea flour.
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 2-3 thai chillies, finely chopped. Thai chillies can be substituted with de-seeded jalapeno.
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- pinch of asafetida powder
- 1 Tbsp mustard oil (or canola oil)
- 1 inch piece of ginger, finely julienned and lightly pickled
- 2 Tbsp chopped coriander to garnish (or fenugreek microgreens)
Key here is the sourness of the yogurt and proportion of flour to liquids in this thin bechamel sauce. Mix yogurt, water, flour, salt, turmeric powder and tomato puree. Let sit for a few minutes and whisk until smooth. In the meantime heat oil in a stock pot at medium. If using mustard oil, wait until the oil is slightly smoking. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Wait for the mustard seed to sputter. Add asafetida, followed by the chilli and onions. Stir to fry. Add the yogurt mix. As the mix heats up, flour will start to thicken the sauce. Let boil gently for 20 minutes. You can use a red tomato as well but a yellow one preserves the color of the curry. If not using tomato, add a 1/2 tsp of sugar. Adjust salt to taste and remove from heat. Stir in the pickled ginger and dumplings. Garnish with coriander or fenugreek microgreens before serving.
Serve with a bowl of rice or chappati. This combination is equivalent to eating grain, lentil and vegetable. For a more substantial meal, accompany with chicken curry or kabobs.