Friday is already here and I realized that I still haven't sent in my entry for 'P of Indian Vegetables'. I had planned for this recipe a long time back but I had a hectic week, with my hubby traveling, and me being invited for lunches & dinners by my friends...so I had absolutely no reason or inspiration to cook :) I must say I got really pampered with all my friends insisting that I take a break and not cook anything. Lucky me!!! Finally, today morning I decided to try out my recipe and take it for lunch to another friend's place.
The first thing that I think of when I think of the letter 'P' is 'Paalak' (Spinach in English). Nutritionists believe that 'Paalak' is a rich source for iron and vitamins A, C, & E and several antioxidants; hence an absolute essential food in our daily diet. Both my hubby and me love it!! Its a regular in our house. When I was growing up, my parents never ceased to explain the importance of including green leafy vegetables in our diet, and no excuse was ever acceptable for not eating it. But the reason that convinced me the most as a kid was that I would get those envied pink cheeks... :)
So without further rambling I would like to introduce my recipe for 'P of Indian Vegetables'--Paalak Dahiwade (Spinach dumplings in yogurt sauce)! 'Dahi' is the word for yogurt in Marathi/Hindi and 'wade' means round flat dumplings. This is a very easy recipe and something different when you are tired of eating the regular dahiwade(Urad dal dumplings in yogurt sauce). 'Dahiwade' is the perfect recipe for those hot summer afternoons when you don't want to eat a lot of spicy masala dishes. My parents have lived in Madhya Pradesh for many years and this is where my mom learnt this recipe. It goes very well as a side dish or as a snack and is best served chilled. So, with the temperatures soaring, I thought of kick starting my summer with a generous serving of chilled 'Paalak Dahiwade'.
To make the Wade: (makes about 12 medium sized wade)
Chopped paalak (fresh/frozen) 2 cups
Besan (chickpea flour) about 10 spoonfuls
Cayenne pepper about 2 tbsp
Salt as per taste
A pinch of baking soda (optional)
Oil to fry
To make the Dahi:
Plain dahi (yogurt) about 4-5 tbsp
Water to thin out the dahi
Ginger & green chilli paste about 1 tsp
Sugar 1-2 tsp depending on how sour the yogurt is
Salt as per taste
Jeera (Cumin) powder
Imli (Tamarind) chutney
To make the dahi, beat the dahi (yogurt) till it's smooth and lump-free. Then add water to it until you get a sauce like consistency. If by mistake you add too much water, just add a little more dahi to it and mix it in. Next add salt, sugar and ginger-chilli paste to it. Mix well and check for taste. Keep aside.
The next step is to make the 'wade'. Take the spinach, wash it and chop it finely. If using frozen spinach, thaw it and squeeze out the excess water. To the chopped spinach add salt, cayenne pepper and soda. Next, mix in the besan so as to make a batter. Do not add water while doing this otherwise the mixture will get too watery. The moisture in the washed spinach is enough to make the batter. The batter should be of a consistency where you can make flat balls out of it and fry them in oil. Heat oil in a pan/kadhai. Once the oil is heated, make round flat balls and fry them until they turn golden brown. Remove and drain excess oil by placing them on a tissue paper.
Make sure to fry the wade immediately after the batter is ready, otherwise, it will get watery.
The final step involves the soaking of the 'wade' in the 'dahi'. Place the wade in a bowl and pour the prepared dahi over them. Make sure that all the wade are covered with the dahi. Cover it and put it in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours at least till the wade soak in the dahi completely. The longer you keep them the better they will absorb the dahi. It can also be done overnight.
To serve the 'Paalak Dahiwade', sprinkle a little bit of cumin powder and cayenne pepper over them, drizzle some tamarind chutney on top, garnish with some cilantro and just chill!
Note: If you think that all the dahi has been absorbed into the wade, then just make some more before serving and pour over individual bowls.