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The Goodness of Paalak or Spinach

June 12, 2012  by: ushakiran  Points: 12   Category: Food & Drinks  Earning $0.50   Views: 962

It is one of the most popular vegetables across India being consumed on a daily basis.It is a rich source of Calcium and Iron and vitamins.


It is called ' Paalak ' in Northern parts of India and 'Keerai' in South India. It is one of the most popular vegetables across India being consumed on a daily basis.It is a rich source of Calcium and Iron and vitamins.
There are broadly 3 basic types of spinach, and it was popularised by Popeye the sailor man cartoons, where Popeye becomes ten times stronger after consuming Spinach - which later led to controversies on the subject. According to scientists Spinach though rich in Iron lags behind Broccoli , Cauliflower and Brussel sprouts, which have far more Iron content.

Spinach ( Spinacia oleracea ) is native to Asia and the Indian sub continent. Spinacia oleracea,"spina" in Latin meaning spiny fruit and"oleracea" meaning herbaceous garden herb. It is a member of the Chenopodiaceae (goosefoot) family which also includes Swiss chard and beets. Spain is supposed to be the first European country into which this plant was first introduced.

It is fairly easy to grow spinach in your home garden. The only requirement is space. It grows best in cool weather and in partly shady places. It is important to have the soil as rich as possible. The seeds should be sown rather close together in drills about a foot apart. It is very quick growing, maturing within two months, and it can be grown between rows of late growing vegetables; the edible part being the leaves..

After sowing the seeds , press the soil firmly over the seeds and spread them out as they grow. The soil should be frequently stirred and watered regularly. Once the plants grow to a height of 2-3 inches they need to be fed with a plant feed that is rich in Nitrate Soda once every fortnight. This promotes healthy growth.

In India the farmers growing Spinach in their fields, use home made fertilizer consisting of cow dung, dried rotten leaves , dried Neem leaves which acts as a pesticide and sand mixed in equal proportions..

The early top leaves can be pinched out to ensure a stocky , full growth and it can also be grown in pots and large containers.Spinach is a versatile vegetable that most Indians use for daily cooking. It is used in Dhals, Curries, Parathas, Rotis, Raitas, Salads...

I am sharing one of the most popular Spinach recipes here.

Paalak Paneer

Spinach - 2 large bunches
Paneer - 1 pack (cut into cubes)
Onion -1 large chopped
Green chillis - 3 chopped
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Turmeric - I/4 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Red chilly powder - half tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp

In a pan heat one tbsp oil add half the quantity of chopped Onions, Green chillis, and saute them. Now add the Ginger Garlic paste and fry for a while. Add the washed Spinach without cutting.
Add some water ,cover and let it boil for 2 mints. keep aside and let it cool.
Transfer the cooled spinach into blender with any left over liquid and puree it.
In a flat pan add some more oil and fry the rest of the onions and add the Paneer cubes and saute them till the sides turn golden brown on all sides. Keep them aside.
Now for the final preparation, in a pan heat a little oil, add cumin seeds , 2 broken red chillies and Spinach puree. Add salt, turmeric powder and Gharam masala , Coriander powder and Red chilly powder. Let it simmer for sometime until the oil floats on top. Add the fried Paneer cubes and mix well.

Serve hot with Butter Naan or Jeera Rice or any kind of Rotis.
Alternatively This recipe can be made with Potatoes instead of Paneer. Boil the potatoes and roast them before adding to Paaalak.

Another popular and fairly common recipe ...

Dhal Paalak

Ingredients :
1 bunch spinach, chopped
3/4 cup toor dal ( available in all Indian grocers)
2 medium Tomatoes, chopped
1 medium Onion, chopped
2-3 green chilies, sliced in half lengthwise
1 teaspoon Red chili powder
1 teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon Gharam masala

For seasoning :
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seed
a few curry leaves and a lot of chopped coriander leaves
Juice of one lemon.

Method :

Wash the dhal. In a pressure cooker add the dhal, 3 cups of water, Spinach, tomatoes, green chillies, turmeric powder and cook over med-high heat until lentils are very tender . Switch off the stove once the pressure builds up.

In a pan, add some oil and add mustard & cumin seeds. After the mustard starts spluttering, add dry red chillies and curry leaves.Add the onions and fry till it turns brown. Add the Gharam Masala and the Red chilly powder and mix well.Pour the cooked dhal over this. Cover & bring to boil & simmer for 2-3 minute Stir in lemon juice and the chopped coriander leaves and check salt.

This is normally had with either Plain Rice or Rotis...

Author: Mathi        
Posted Date: 06/13/2012        

wow !! really great ..write more like this..
Author: Suny        
Posted Date: 06/17/2012    Points:1    

Although this looks a little bit different in our part of the world but this vegetable is very rich with its iron content.

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