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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Verdure riche / Deap Rich Greens

Épinards - Spinach

Popeye aurait il raison? Est ce que la tenure de fer de l'epinard peu donner de la force aux heros? Malheureusement, manger de l'epinard ne te transformera pas en heros, car sa teneur en fer n'est pas particulierement elevee. La popularisation de l'epinard date du temps de Catherine de Medicis, quand la France commenca a utilise cet ingredient provenu de la Perse. Mais c'est avec leur climat tempere, que la Chine a maintenant le monopole de la production de 85% des epinards du monde avec plus de 10 million de tonnes d'epinards produit par annee. Alors si l'epinard ne nous transforme pas en heros, quesque cette plante potagere puisse faire pour nous? Le plus que puisse faire, est d'ameliorer l'afflux de sang dans certaines zones du cerveau et qui pourrait, avec le temps, prevenir la demence. C'est grace a une erreur de tape, faite par une secretaire americaine, que l'on puisse attribuer la rumeur du haut niveau de fer dans les epinards. Parcontre, l'epinard est une des meilleures sources de vitamine B9.
L'epinard est un ingredient tres versatile et peut se retrouver dans n'importe quel plat. Omelettes, pains, casseroles, soupes; tous peuvent contenir cet ingredient. Pour aujourd'hui, ajoutons de l'epinard a un plat indien; Cari aux epinards et pois chiches.

Would Popeye be at fault? Does spinach contain enough iron to turn you into a super hero? Sadly, eating spinach will not turn you into a super hero, because it is not the best of sources for iron. The popularity of this Persian leaf started in France by Catherine de Medicis. But nowadays, it is thanks to China's calm weathers that they produce 85% of today's spinach, translating into more then 10 million tons of spinach yearly. So if spinach does not turn us into heros, what does this edible flowering plant have to offer us? Spinach is more commonly known for its high levels of vitamin B9 and for its capabilities to help the blood flow to certain parts of the brain. After a period of time, this can prevent dementia in elderly people. It is thanks to a typo made by an American secretary that we can attribute the wide spread rumor of iron levels in spinach. Meat is a better alternative for a good source of iron.
Spinach can be found in almost any modern day dishes. Omelets, breads, casseroles, soups and much more; all can contain this ingredient. For today, lets add it to an Indian dish; Spinach and Chick Pea Curry.

Spinach and Chick Pea Curry
This simple dish if full vitamins and even more flavor. As all good curries, we start by frying our spices to release the heat and flavors. Then we fry the vegetables, deglaze with, in this dish, coconut milk and then let simmer to perfection. You then have the option of eating the dish as is with roti, or have it on top of rice or potatoes. Let's start cooking.

- 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp Hot Yellow Curry Powder
- 2 Tsp Turmeric
- 1 Tsp Cumin seeds (use powder form if not available)
- 2 medium size Onions, finely chopped
- 2 small bunch fresh Spinach leaves (roughly chopped, not to much of the stems)
- 1 can of Chickpeas, drained
- 1 can Coconut Milk

Putting this together is simple enough.

1. Heat the pan to medium-high heat with the oil. Add the spices and stir with a large spoon. make sure it's a spoon that you won't mind staining, if this happens.
2. Add the onion and fry at medium heat.Add the spinach and the chickpeas. Fry on medium high heat for 4-5 minutes.
3. Add the coconut milk, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low to keep the curry to a simmer and reduce the liquid.

Personally, if I am serving this dish on rice, I will leave more of the liquid, so not letting it reduce as much. Compared to if I were to serve this on its own with roti, I would let it reduce some more to better handle it when eating.

In the dead of winter, when I feel like eating a heartier meal, i will fry up some potatoes, hashbrown style. Peel the amount of potatoes you'll want and cut them in small cubes. To make the frying process quicker and easier, blanch them in boiling water, enough to cook them till you can start pushing a fork inside a cube. Do not cook them through or it will turn to mush in the pan. Heat up some oil at medium high heat and place the drained and partially cooked potatoes, in the oil and fry to get a nice golden color and complete the cooking. Simply add salt and pepper to taste or even try adding my personal favorite, cilantro, for another layer of flavor and freshness.
Whether you add spinach to a curry dish, pasta dish, pizza or spanakopita, it's always an easy way to add more nutrients to your dish. Who knows, you might turn into Popeye!

Eat well, sleep well and till next time!
A bientôt!


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