Homegrown Texan

Born and raised in Texas, I've found the home of my heart and soul in the Pacific Northwest. I love trees, cool weather, and rain. I'm a back to basics kind of gal just trying to raise my family and find a bit of time to slow down in this hectic life.

I love Indian food/curry, but have never known how to make it. Several years ago I spent hours researching recipes, bought all sorts of ingredients I knew nothing about, and slaved away in the kitchen in an attempt to reproduce one of my favorite Indian restaurant dishes: palak paneer. What I came out with was the most bland, tasteless thing on the planet. Being unfamiliar with the spices, I had no idea what to do to correct it. We opted to go out, and that meal has gone down in history as my Worst Meal Ever. Seriously. And I've been afraid to try it again.

Then a few months ago, we invited Leaner to our house for burgers. I asked her to bring a side dish, and she brought a curry with cauliflower, potatoes, and green peas. I've never been much of a cauliflower or green pea fan, but in the interest of being polite, I took a small portion. And oh. my. god. That was the best stuff, ever. I didn't even know I was eating usually-hated vegetables. I seriously could have eaten the whole pot of the stuff. She was gracious enough to give me her recipe, and told me that garam masala is the secret ingredient (and was even nice enough to pick some up for me from the market she buys it at....nice, wasn't she?). I haven't made that exact recipe, in fact I'm embarrassed to admit that the first time I used it was a trashy eats rendition of ramen noodles I threw together for lunch one day (but they were yummy ramen noodles :) ). However today I was trying to figure out a way to use some quinoa I've been wanting to try, and it occured to me to try the curry again. And it was *delicious*.

You'll have to bear with me here because I don't really measure, so all amounts are approximate

Curried Potatoes & Spinach with Quinoa
- Enough cooked quinoa for the number of people you want to serve; about 1/4-1/3 cup dried quinoa per person
- diced potato; about 1 small per person
- chopped fresh spinach (you could probably use frozen); about 1.5 cups per person
- chopped nuts (optional)
- olive oil
- salt
- onion, diced (I used dehydrated minced because my onion turned out to be rotten on the inside) about 1/4 onion per person
- garlic, 1-2 cloves per person (I love garlic), minced
- garam masala
- broth (I used chicken, but you could also use veggie)
- goat cheese or yogurt for topping (optional)

Cook the quinoa, 2 to 1 ration of water to quinoa. Cook it like rice (covered); it will take about 20 minutes once it starts to boil. Be sure and rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine sieve before cooking to rinse the natural saponin coating off (the saponin gives it an unpleasant bitter flavor).

Sautee the onions and diced potatoes in olive oil. Cover with a lid to help the potatoes steam a bit. After about 5 minutes, sprinkle about a spoonful per person of garam masala add in the minced garlic, salt to taste, and stir to combine. Add in enough broth to cover the pan. You don't want a real brothy sauce, the broth is just to give the dish a little moisture. Cover.

When the potatoes are almost done (about 10 minutes later) add in the chopped spinach and nuts. Stir to combine and cover to allow the spinach to steam about (about 3 minutes).

Here is what it looked like when I added the spinach in:

Once the spinach is wilted, serve over the quinoa. I've discovered that I love goat cheese combined with curry, so I crumbled some of that on top. Yogurt would also work well, or you can skip them both.

After the spinach has wilted; this is ready to serve:

If you like heat you could add in some diced peppers with the onions, or fresh on top as a garnish.

Here it is plated up. Unfortunately my camera flash tends to wash things out when I take close up shots.


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