South Indian cuisine is a somewhat broad term that defines food from the southern states of Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The delicious food from this region is well known for its use of bold spices such as cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg combined with spicy chilies, aromatic curry leaves and sweet coconut. It is both healthy and delicious. South Indians are mostly vegetarians and local fresh produce is essential to their diet. Rice is the main staple and is eaten in generous portions at almost every meal.
South Indian style Potato & Spinach curry is a wonderful vegetarian side dish that will make a great accompaniment to any Indian meal.
POTATO & SPINACH CURRY: South Indian Style
1 lb of firm potatoes (like Yukon Gold), peeled and cut into large pieces
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 inch piece of ginger (peeled and finely minced)
1 lb of baby spinach (washed well and chopped)
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
5-6 fresh curry leaves
1 tsp urad dal
3-4 fresh green chilies
pinch of asafetida
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp tamarind concentrate (or 1 tsp tam powder)
½ can of coconut milk (light is fine)
salt to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a large pot of salted boiling water, boil the potato pieces until just fork tender. Drain well and set aside until needed.
In a large deep skillet on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, carefully add the black mustard seeds. When the splattering has stopped, add the cumin seeds and urad dal.
After 30 seconds, add the curry leaves, green chilies and asafetida. Stir and add the onions. Fry until slightly browned and add the ginger. Stir fry for a minute and add the turmeric, salt and red chili powder. Stir fry and cook the spices for a few minutes, add the potatoes. Stir well to coat all the potato pieces with the spices. Now add the tomatoes, stir and let cook for 5 minutes. Then add the spinach and let wilt into the curry. Finally add the coconut milk and tamarind. Reduce the heat to simmer and let cook for 5-6 additional minutes until all the ingredients are well combined. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves and serve with fragrant Basmati rice.
You could add ¼ cup of toasted unsalted peanut powder (just pulse a few times in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder) along with the potatoes.