I’m back! Wednesday 26th July was my final day of massage college. After six theory exams and three practicals, loss of sleep and time (and a very poor eating pattern), I’m finally a qualified massage therapist. I can do Swedish massage, hot stones, aromatherapy, Indian head, spa treatments and Hopi ear candling, so I guess a holistic therapist is a more accurate description. The past 3 or 4 weeks have actually been poor in terms of my diet with just a lack of time and funds to buy nice and exciting food, so I made no interesting recipes for quite a while. Now that that’s finished, and I can begin working as a massage therapist on my own schedule (thus giving me more time to stay at home and cook and work on CocoaVegan more), I can re-start the blog again.
Indian food is one of my favourite cuisines because it is so versatile for vegans and vegetarians. Whether or not you eat meat—curries, rice and naan, are all filling, wholesome and tasty. I get Indian takeaways every few months as a treat and I’m never disappointed. My channa masala, coconut rice, garlic naan and saag aloo always does me well (shout out to Dewaniam in Forest Hill. Yes, I drive from Croydon to Forest Hill just to get Indian takeaway and I’m not ashamed).
Despite my serenade just now, it’s not exactly cost effective or healthy to regularly order takeaway meals. I can make a good curry already (although South American-inspired), but I always shied away from the other more fancy dishes, like saags and naans. A few months ago I tried my hand at saag aloo, which is a potato-based dish with spinach and spices, and again a few weeks ago I tried it again but with sweet potato. As vegans, especially those starting out new on the journey, there is a risk to make our diets too dependent on potatoes, starches and carbs, leading to an unbalanced diet and lots of boredom. Saag is one way to use potatoes that is nourishing and exciting.
This isn’t exactly a Friday Basket, in that there’s no price list, however it still falls into the “Vegan on a Budget” theme of our Fridays: 1 bag of potatoes and 1 bag of spinach is cheap and cheerful.
There are other variations you can do: I originally made the white potato saag with fresh spinach and the sweet potato with frozen spinach. Frozen spinach enables for much more moisture and a sauce-like consistency which is better suited for white potatoes. Sweet potatoes tend to be more moist than white potatoes in the first place.
Saag Aloo recipe
4 medium sized potatoes, diced
1 white onion, diced
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon tumeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 fresh red chilli, chopped
A handful of coriander
A dash of sea salt
3 tablespoons sesame seed oil, for frying
2 tablespoons maple syrup
A knob of Vitalite sunflower spread, to garnish
- Heat a sauce pan on high with the sesame seed oil
- Add the onion, after 30 seconds to a minute, add the maple syrup and stir
- Turn the heat down to medium after a minute
- Add the chilli and potato to the pan
- Stir in the garam masala, tumeric, cumin and salt. Lower heat a little more then cover for 5-10 mins or until potato is soft
- Add the spinach and coriander, stir for 1 minute
- Remove pan from heat and add butter
- Serve immediately
For the sweet potato saag, just replace the white potato with sweet potato