Something missing?

There’s nothing more infuriating than following a recipe and missing out some vital ingredient – wait! oh yes there is something more infuriating, much more infuriating, it’s when you follow a recipe and find that the writer has missed something out. Luckily in the example I’m thinking of, I was just reading through my mum’s collection of recipes, not her own but cuttings from newspapers and magazine. I wasn’t about to cook anything but was just looking through mum’s recipes when I saw Palook Chop among a few others offering ‘a true taste of India‘. I’m very fond of Indian food so I had a look.

If I was going to have a go at making it I would need to buy some spinach and green chillies, but I already have a good selection of spices including most needed here, cumin, star anise, turmeric. A spice I did not have, and had never heard of was ajwan seeds, which seems to be more commonly called ajwain seeds and they are in fact tiny fruit. They seem to have a very distinctive flavour, so I’d like to know what it is before using them in a recipe. Despite being called a chop, there was no meat involved and I wondered if it was formed into the shape of a chop, but no, it wasn’t.

So the recipe, mix chopped spinach, eggs, spices and salt in a bowl and then form into balls and fry for 3-5 minutes… This sounded strange, it all seemed rather wet, how could you make a ball of the mixture? I looked at the quantities, maybe it was a huge amount of spinach to the two eggs – but no it wasn’t. Mysterious. I looked up other recipes for palook chop.

My search came up with ‘Did you mean: pork chop, palak chopra, plug chop, pok chop?’ Well, no I didn’t, but it seems palook is the English version of the word for spinach which is the main feature of the dish. I eventually found a recipe for palak aloo, and I know that aloo is potato so I had a look and lo and behold there was an almost identical recipe, (apart from the ajwan seeds) made with potato. Mixing the spinach and potato would give a result which could be formed into balls!

So here is the amended recipe, nothing to do with chops, just spinach and potato balls, palak aloo:

  • 9 oz spinach, chopped
  • 4 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground star anise
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 oz cooked potatoes, mashed
  1. mix all the ingredients very well
  2. form into 16 small balls (it doesn’t say roll in seasoned flour but I would)
  3. deep fry at 160 -170 C for 3-5 mins until golden brown
  4. drain on kitchen paper and serve with tamarind sauce

My featured image is of sea spinach which grows wild round here

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