Vikram Vij, master of modern Indian fusion, goes back to basics in his “Vij’s At Home: Relax, Honey” cookbook which he co-authored with his wife and culinary partner, Meeru Dhalwala. I have been cooking a great deal from Vij’s cookbook these days. The introduction provides an informative overview of Indian spices like turmeric, cumin, sumac and cardamom (many of which, by the way, have wonderful disease-fighting properties!). I have mainly been cooking the vegetarian recipes which I have found very easy to follow. Many of the recipes can be made using frozen or pantry items liked diced tomatoes, frozen spinach, canned chickpeas, etc.. Super convenient for busy mamas and papas (and everyone else)! And, the dishes are deeelish; even my one-year old kiddo loves the spices! In particular, I’m sharing this Spinach and Split Pea Mash recipe because it makes a healthier accompaniment to any curry dish or non-Indian meat main, instead of rice or potatoes. Vikram Vij also mentions that his family even eats this as leftovers spread on toast. Nice! Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups green split peas
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup cooking oil or ghee
- 1 cup finely chopped onion (1 medium)
- 1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped garlic (4 to 5 medium cloves)
- 2 1/2 tbsp or less chopped jalapeno pepper (1 large)
- 1 tsp salt
- 7 to 8 oz fresh spinach (1 bunch) with stems
- 1 tbsp ground sumac
- 2 tsp dried mint
- Place split peas in a colander and wash and drain them several times to remove any dirt, rocks and other impurities. Transfer split peas to a medium pot, cover them with the water and soak for 2 hours.
- Bring split peas and water to a boil on high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Most of the water should have been absorbed, but the peas should be cooked and moist with a little water still in the post. Cook longer or drain if there is too much water in the pot. Remove from the heat and allow to cook for 30 minutes.
- In a medium frying pan, heat oil (or ghee) on medium-high for 45 seconds. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, or until golden. Add garlic and continue to sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden. Add jalapeno pepper, salt and spinach. Stir well and cook for 1 minute, or until spinach wilts. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
- Once the split pea and spinach mixtures have cooled, purée each one separately in a food processor. Process split peas until smooth, spinach until roughly puréed and slightly chunky.
- In a medium bowl, combine peas and spinach. Stir in sumac and mint. Serve immediately. (Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days.)
Image: offmessage via Flickr