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Author Notes: Greens are a popular first course in Bengal. Make this slightly smoky, sautéed spinach with creamy aubergine and a sweet vegetable (winter squash or sweet potato) for a unique blend of flavors. Nigella seeds add a nice smoky flavor. They are a common ingredient in Middle-Eastern or North African baked products like flat-bread. Naturally also in Indian cuisine. You should get these black seeds in any middle-eastern or Indian store, or on the internet. —The Minimalist Indian
- 500 grams fresh spinach, cleaned and washed
- 200 grams purple eggplant, diced
- 200 grams winter squash or sweet potato
- 1/4 teaspoon Nigella seeds (kalonji in India)
- 2 teaspoons neutral cooking oil
- 1 small dried red chilli (optional)
- Heat oil. When very hot, add the chilli (if using) and the seeds.
- Once the chilli turns brown or the seeds have sizzled for a few seconds, remove the chilli if you don’t want spicy food. It can be used for garnishing or to make an individual diner’s food hot as per taste.
- Add sweet potato/winter squash and sauté, over medium low heat for a couple of minutes.
- Add aubergine/eggplant and sauté until vegetables are almost cooked through.
- Add the greens and sauté till they are wilted and the vegetables are soft. If things start to dry up and burn before they are cooked, add a splash of water.
- Season to taste. Serve hot with rice or as a side dish.