I am not a winter person - I was born and raised in the 'burbs of Vancouver then moved to Ontario about 15 years ago. Still not acclimatized. Maybe I won't ever get used to it. So winter for me is spending a lot of time indoors and cooking a lot of "comfort food" - casseroles and such.
Last weekend, I hosted another one of my Indian (well mostly Indian) food buffet for some friends. As part of the meal, I decided to upgrade last year's chana masala recipe to include spinach as I still had some left from my own garden's harvest - so making it chana palak (palak being spinach).
In addition to the chana palak and various salads (raita, cucumber and tomato, etc.), I served:
- Pea and Mint Pulao
- Mesir Wat (Ethiopian Spicy Red Lentils)
- Aloo Jeera (potatoes with cumin seeds)
- Tandoori Quail
- Ginger Prawns
- Cabbage and Carrots with niter kibbeh (spiced butter)
I didn't take pictures of the other dishes, but I really want to share the recipes for the pulao dish and the potatoes. I'm sure I'll make those again soon so I will take pics and post the recipes then. In the meantime, here is the recipe for the Channa Palak. It's hard to say how many it feeds - I had 10 people over but 7 other dishes!
2 1/2 onions
8 cloves garlic
2 inch (squared) piece ginger
2 green chiles (all I could find was jalapeno)
Neutral cooking oil
2 tsp cumin seed
1 1/2 Tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 19-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked spinach
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes
2-3 tsp garam masala
Puree the onion, garlic, ginger and chiles. Set aside.
In a large pan, heat 4 Tbsp of a neutral oil such as canola (not olive oil). Add the cumin seed. When the cumin seed starts to "spit", add the onion puree. Cook 6-8 minutes on medium heat to remove most of the moisture. Add remaining spices and cook 2-3 minutes.
Add chickpeas and spinach. Stir to combine all ingredients well. Then add tomatoes. Stir again, then reduce to a simmer and cook 15 minutes.
Add garam masala to taste and adjust salt as required.