Palakoora Vepadu (Andhra-Style Sautéed Spinach)

Palakoora Sauteed Spinach
As cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey discovered while traveling through the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, palakoora vepadu, fresh spinach sautéed with aromatics such as cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, and turmeric, is a staple in South Indian messes (mess halls). See the recipe for Palakoora Vepadu (Andhra-Style Sautéed Spinach) »Ingalls Photography

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.

Palakoora Vepadu (Andhra-Style Sautéed Spinach)
Fresh spinach sautéed with an array of spices and served with rice is a staple of mess halls in south India's Andhra Pradesh.
Yield: serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 14 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 14 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
  • 12 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 (2") piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 3 lb. baby spinach

Instructions

  1. 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.