• Samanaa

Colours of Winter: Week 2 - Green

Special series on winter produce


Shopping for vegetables has never been this satisfying!! We eagerly look forward to our weekly farmer market visits and the little one is oh-so-curious, touching and picking up every vegetable she can reach.


This week is for the best of winter greens - my personal favourite😊.. The fresh radish greens, the beet greens and the spinach and the methi - all so lush and fresh.. In the below platter, I have made major use of spinach (palak), which is so versatile that I ended up baking a spinach cake!!



Cucumber Paneer roll-ups


These pretty looking, sushi resembling rolls are the easiest to put together.. Very fresh on the palette and pretty light, yet a very healthy starter. Use only the english cukes, the desi cukes have a lot of seeds and is difficult to roll.


Ingredients:

English cucumber 2

Paneer 200 gm

Chilli flakes to taste

Salt to taste

Italian seasoning 1 tsp


Method:

Using a slicer or a sharp knife, cut the cucumber into thin strips. In a bowl, crumble paneer (there shouldn't be any pieces left) and add salt, chilli flakes and seasoning. Keep the serving plate ready. Take a cucumber strip and place a spoonful of paneer mixture and roll the strip and carefully place it on the serving plate. Repeat the process for the rest of the strips and serve it as a starter with any dip of your choice. This is a dish that can be prepared ahead of time.


Broccoli, peas and palak soup


While broccoli and peas soup is pretty common, I decided to add palak to it and boy, this made the soup all the more nutritious! This is a dairy-free and gluten-free soup and is perfect for your winter dinners..


Ingredients:

Broccoli florets 2 cups

Fresh green peas 1 cup

Spinach 1 cup packed

Extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp

A clove of garlic

Salt and pepper to taste


Method:

Steam broccoli, peas, spinach and garlic till tender. Please ensure that you do not over steam the veggies, or they will lose the colour and the nutrition. Once steamed and cooled, transfer it to a grinder jar and grind it to a paste with enough water. In a saucepan, heat oil and transfer the soup and thin it to a desired consistency. Season it with salt and pepper. You may also add any herbs of your choice. Serve it hot with a bread of your choice.


Beans almondine


I regret not having tried this gem of a dish before! Not sure what stopped me, but now that I've tasted it, there's no going back! You HAVE to try this, and I can't emphasise enough 😁..


Ingredients:

Tender green beans 300 gm

Finely chopped onions 1/2 cup

Garlic finely chopped 1 clove

Herbed/plain butter 2 tbsp

Sliced almonds 1/4th cup

Salt and pepper to taste


Method:

In a pan, add the butter and once it melts, add garlic and onion and fry till translucent. Now add cleaned tended beans and slivered almonds. On a medium flame, cook the beans for only a few minutes (3-4 minutes) making sure that the beans are cooked, yet crunchy. The key to the success of this dish is the crunch retained by the beans. Once done, take it off the heat and season it with salt and pepper. That's all there is to it!


Paneer paratha


This is a staple at our home. We all love it. Its packed with nutrition and is a no-fuss paratha that has no filling. Can be served with pickle and raita or even plain curd.


Ingredients:

Spinach puree 1 cup

Whole wheat flour 2 1/4th cup

Green chilli 2

Ginger 1 inch

Salt to taste


Method:

To prepare the spinach puree, add two handsful of cleaned spinach to a pot of water. Turn on the heat and cook the leaves till the water comes to a boil. take it out of water and let it cool. Once cooled, transfer the wilted leaves along with chillies and ginger and grind it to a fine paste without adding any water.


In a large mixing bowl, add the flour and salt and mix in the spinach puree. Additional water is generally not required to knead the dough. The consistency should be that of normal chapati dough. Rest the dough for 15 minutes. Pinch out a ball sized dough, dust it in flour and roll it out, like you make parathas. Roast it on hot tawa with a little oil/ghee till cooked. Serve it hot with a pickle of your choice and a simple raita or just plain curd.


Spinach and pistachio cake


And here comes the fun part! I really wanted a green dessert, and while there's no dearth to green coloured desserts, most of them have added artificial colour and flavour and that's a big no for me. So, I came up with this recipe - which was an experiment, really, and was amazed with the softness and the flavour of the cake!! No one will ever guess it has spinach in it😁.. It's perfectly healthy (has wheat flour and nuts and spinach - what more do you want!) and is totally delish..



Ingredients:

Whole wheat flour 1 cup

Spinach puree (uncooked) 1/2 cup

Curd 1/4th cup

Pistachio powder 1/2 cup

Sugar 1/4th cup

Baking soda 1/2 tsp

Vanilla extract 1/8th tsp


Method:

In a mixer jar, add raw spinach and grind it. The final quantity of the puree should be 1/2 cup. In the same grinder jar along with the pureed spinach, add curd, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract and blend it. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes. In a mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder and pistachio powder (do not grind the pista to a fine paste, just blitz it till you get a coarse powder) and mix in the wet ingredients and fold everything till well mixed. Line a cake tin with parchment paper and pour in the cake batter. Bake it at 170 degrees for 20-25 minutes. You can check the doneness of the cake by inserting a skewer/knife and it has to come out clean. Let the cake cool on a cooling rack before slicing it. Serving it warm with custard or a scoop of ice-cream..





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