Stir-fry is music to ears. Vegetables/greens cooked with flavorful ingredients and sautéed in butter with a zing of lemon adds dimension to the meal. They’re a healthy side dish which goes with almost anything.
Spinach are an absolute powerhouse of nutrients, packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These nutrients become even more concentrated and better assimilated when spinach is cooked with butter/oil/ghee. It reminds me of the character Popeye, he eats his spinach fresh and raw straight from the bag, but this recipe sure would make him proud. The freshness of lemons add such a bright note and also reduce the spinach’s bitterness big time. A moderate amount of sugar elevates the taste and red chilli flakes adds little heat to the spinach.
The body absorbs more of the iron in the spinach if complimented with foods containing vitamin C such as lemon, fruits or tomatoes. Keeping this in mind, I thought of lemon as nice compliment to the spinach in this recipe. Spinach is high in oxalate so people with kidney or gallbladder problems may be wise to limit or avoid it. The healthiest way of cooking spinach is to boil them in water for 1 min. (blanching) and allow them to leach oxalic acids in the water. Oxalic acids interfere with the absorption of calcium and other nutrients in the body. This also brings out the sweeter taste of spinach.
Spinach, chopped – 1/2 kg
Butter/Ghee – 3 tbsp
Garlic, finely crushed – 6-8 cloves
Dried crushed chillies (chilli flakes) – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Lime juice – 1.5 tbsp (or as desired)
Salt – to taste
1. Bring plenty of water to a rapid boil, add spinach and boil for 1 min. Drain and immediately pour cold water over the spinach to stop further cooking.
2. Add butter/ghee, garlic and chilli flakes in a large pan, swirling so that the butter comes about halfway up the sides of the pan. Let them sizzle for sometime. Adding garlic and chillies when the butter is cold helps them to infuse better.
3. Mix in the spinach and sugar, sauté at high flame for a few mins. or until all the water from spinach dries up. Keep stirring the greens to prevent burning. Mine took about 6 mins. to do it.
4. Add salt, continue cooking at medium flame for 2-3 mins. Mix in lemon juice and serve hot.
1. After boiling spinach, discard the drained water or do not use it for soups or gravies.
2. Do not cover the pan while cooking as it helps to release more of the oxalic acids with the rising steam.
3. Using a pinch of baking soda with spinach while cooking retains the bright green color of spinach.
4. Large pan is great for stir-fries, because of the large surface area, they prevent vegetables to pile on top of each other and thus fry them evenly instead of steaming up.