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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
grams fresh spinach, cleaned and washed
grams purple eggplant, diced
grams winter squash or sweet potato
teaspoon Nigella seeds (kalonji in India)
teaspoons neutral cooking oil
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.