Indian Spinach with Corn

A couple of months back, I was faced with the somewhat daunting task of contributing a dish to an Indian friend’s Indian feast. My assignment was a version of saag and my hostess was both encouraging and forgiving–already knowing that whatever dish I’d come up with would be a mere interpretation of the many authentic saags she had eaten before. For those who don’t know, “saag” is a classic Indian leaf-based dish, usually spinach, somewhat akin to our creamed spinach.

Having a couple of ears of fresh corn on hand, I decided that my saag would include kernels and the search for a perfect recipe ensued. Google led me to a selection of recipes that looked fine but were not singing to me. My “go to” Indian cookbook failed to deliver. It was then that I searched for some current Indian food blogs and happened to land upon Mallika Basu.

Mallika’s blog features modern, accessible Indian cooking–just my speed. I tweaked her recipe for Perfect Saag Paneer a bit (to replace the paneer (cheese) with corn) and the results we unanimously enjoyed by Indians and non-Indians, alike. I’ve since made this recipe several times and thought it would be a good time to share. If fresh corn is no longer available in your area, feel free to substitute frozen. And if you are looking for a complete meal, serve this dish alongside my Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka MasalaEnjoy!

Indian Spinach with Corn

Indian Spinach with Corn
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 2 ears of corn, husks and silks removed (or 1 1/2 c frozen corn)
  2. 2 Tbls oil
  3. 1 medium onion
  4. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 1 inch ginger, puree
  6. 1 tsp cumin powder
  7. Half tsp chili powder
  8. Half tsp turmeric powder
  9. 1 large green finger chill (I use a small hot red chili or seeded jalapeño)
  10. 1 lb bag frozen spinach
  11. Half tsp garam masala
  12. Salt to taste
  13. Naan for serving, if desired
Instructions
  1. Cook corn in a pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from water and when cool enough to handle, cut kernels from the cobs and set aside. Note: If using frozen corn, skip this step.
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, minced garlic and ginger puree. Saute until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add cumin, chili powder, turmeric, chopped chili and a teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine and fry for about five minutes until the mixture turns a deep golden brown.
  4. Next, add the frozen spinach and let it cook for another five minutes. When it is thoroughly defrosted in the pot and combined evenly with the onion mixture, add half a cup of hot water and go in with a hand blender to puree into a smooth, creamy mixture. If mixture is too thick, you may want to add an extra 1/4 c of water to get the right consistency.
  5. Note: If you don’t have a hand blender, you could transfer the spinach into a normal blender for the same result. Return to the pan once smooth.
  6. When the spinach mixture is smooth, add in the corn kernels and garam masala.
  7. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the water dries up and the spices have penetrated the spinach thoroughly.
  8. At this point, check for salt. You’ll need to add a fair bit to lift the spinach.
  9. Eat it piping hot as a side dish or with some ready naan as a complete meal.
Notes
  1. Recipe can easily be doubled.
Adapted from Mallika Basu
Adapted from Mallika Basu
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