The south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is known for its messes, or mess halls, which serve cheap, freshly made vegetarian food. Rice is the base of the meal; dishes such as palakoora vepadu, fresh spinach sautéed with an array of spices, add variety of flavor, texture, and nutrients. This recipe first appeared in our August/September 2014 special India issue.
- 1⁄4 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1⁄4 tsp. fenugreek seeds
- 12 fresh or frozen curry leaves
- 9 cloves garlic, 3 halved lengthwise, 6 minced
- 1 yellow onion, minced
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. red chile powder, such as cayenne
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 (2″) piece ginger, peeled and grated
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 3 lb. baby spinach
- Heat oil in a 12″ nonstick skillet over medium-high. Cook cumin seeds until they pop, 1–2 minutes. Add fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, and halved garlic; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onion; cook until golden, 10–12 minutes. Add minced garlic, the coriander, chile powder, turmeric, ginger, and salt; cook until garlic is golden, 2–3 minutes. Stir in spinach; cook until wilted and slightly dry, 6–8 minutes.