Drum roll, drum roll….
‘This’, I declared, ‘is my new favourite dish’, as we all ate dinner together one evening.
Silence. And then contemplation.
‘Mine is that sausage and lentil thing‘ – #1 teenage son.
‘You know mine, Mum – mushroom soup AND you haven’t made it for ages’ – #2 teenage son.
‘Mine’s cheesy jacket potatoes but with tuna added’ – Hella.
‘For me, it’s always Corned Beef and Potato Pie with beetroot and chips’ – my lovely husband. Note to self – maybe the time has come to introduce the blog to this family favourite? What do you think?
Let’s be honest, my favourite dinner changes all the time – every time I cook something new that goes really well, in fact. Although having said that, my fondness for Crispy Duck Pancakes is a constant – you know, the DIY kind with the teeny tiny strips of cucumber + spring onions + hoisin sauce.
But anyway, back to the main event of today … this Tomato and Spinach Curry with hard boiled eggs. Apologies for the less than catchy name – it was a tricky one. ‘Egg curry’ sounds a bit yuck and leaving out any reference to the eggs wasn’t right either. I think we’ll just have to go with it – although all suggestions gratefully received … It’s adapted from a recipe by the New Zealand chef, Karen Martini, in her book, Cooking at Home – a Christmas gift from my lovely husband. He bought it at speed when we spent the festive season down under, so is pretty chuffed that it was a good choice.
The first time I made this dish, I was taken aback by what seemed like a vast volume of spices – not so much the range but the sheer quantity that the recipe called for. But here’s the thing – TRUST THE RECIPE. There’s a real depth to the flavour in this curry and much of it comes from the bulk of spices. And it’s deeply fragrant rather than deeply hot. Oh and don’t be afraid of the sugar in the sauce recipe, it does need a bit of sweetness (although I’ve taken the quantity down a lot from the original recipe).
So where to start on the things I like about this Tomato and Spinach Curry? –
- It tastes delicious – Rich and intensely favoured without being too overwhelming.
- It’s super healthy – Especially served with some whole grains.
- It’s a store cupboard saviour – You probably have most of the ingredients already so it’s a perfect dish to rustle up when the fridge AND the freezer AND the cupboards are all looking a bit bare.
- It’s sensational value for money.
- Great for preparing ahead of time – Boil the eggs, make the base, then bring it all together when you’re ready to eat.
- Leftovers warm up nicely for lunch the next day.
- It’s a handy vegetarian dish to have in your repertoire – but be sure to choose vegetable stock and not chicken stock.
And as my love for this dish was still in the honeymoon period a couple of weeks later when I visited Mum to celebrate her 70th birthday, I made this Tomato and Spinach Curry the centre piece for our family birthday dinner.
The rest of the birthday spread looked like this –
- Roasted Curried Cauliflower Salad
- A simple cucumber raita and a small Indian styled salad
- Wholegrain rice cooked in vegetable stock + a tin each of chickpeas and sweetcorn stirred through it.
- My Dad’s homemade Naan bread – he’s a big fan of baking bread but this was his first venture into Naan …. yum. Incidentally, the crowd pleasers were the ones that he sprinkled with a touch of sugar before grilling – think Peshwari.
- And for a sweet finale we embraced zesty with this Lemon Layer Cake. There were candles too of course … four times in fact – once for the birthday girl and three more times for each of her little grand children to have a go.
And you know, keeping it meat-free, really does keep the cost down – we fed 8 adults in style for £30 with plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day. Result.
So will you be giving this Tomato and Spinach Curry a try? It could be your new favourite dinner too … Oh and by the way, this may not have been everybody’s ALL TIME FAVOURITE dinner, but there were clean plates all round. I’ll take that as a thumbs up.
- 100 ml (4 floz) extra virgin olive oil
- 3 large onions, sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 80g (3oz) fresh ginger, grated
- 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
- salt and pepper
- 1-2 large red chillies, cut in half lengthways (adapt according to how much heat you like)
- 3 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 3 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
- 1-2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 400g (1lb) tin chopped tomatoes
- 250ml (½ pint) stock, vegetable or chicken
- 4 large handfuls baby spinach, shredded
- 12 hard boiled eggs, peeled and halved
- 1 bunch coriander, leaves roughly chopped
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based pan - I used a big, deep frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for about 4 minutes until translucent and fragrant.
- Now add the mustard seeds, salt and pepper, chillies, the remaining spices and the sugar and cook gently for a minute or so.
- Add the tomatoes and stock to the pan and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Add the spinach at this stage and cook gently for a further 10 minutes.
- Now check the seasoning, add the eggs (allowing them to warm a little in the sauce) and sprinkle with coriander leaves.