The other day at Barnes & Nobles, I happened to stumble upon a book called 5 spices, 50 dishes by Ruta Kahate. The premise of this book is very simple: with only five spices- coriander seeds,cumin seeds, mustard seeds, ground cayenne, and ground turmeric- you can make 50+ fantastic dishes. More so recently than before, I’ve been interested in Indian cooking, mostly because of the large amount of healthful spices that are used. Although i didn’t buy this book, I took down some notes that I found interesting (sometimes when I find recipes in books I don’t want to purchase, I take pictures with my phone..don’t know if thats illegal..hmm?)!
Benefits of the 5 Spices:
- Coriander Seeds: “In parts of Europe, coriander has traditionally been referred to as an “anti-diabetic” plant. In parts of India, it has traditionally been used for its anti-inflammatory properties. In the United States, coriander has recently been studied for its cholesterol-lowering effects.”
- Cumin Seeds: good for digestion, cancer prevention, and iron for energy
- Mustard Seeds: good for gastrointestinal cancer and anti-inflammatory effects
- Ground Cayenne: fights cancer cells, detoxifies bloodstream, lowers body temperature (ironic?), lowers cholesterol, aids in weight loss/fat burn, etc.
- Ground Turmeric: reduces the risk of childhood leukemia, natural liver detoxifier, may the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, etc.
I had a few leftover sunflower lentil veggie patties from last night and usually I store my leftovers in the fridge eat them in the next few days, but since I will be out of town for the next two weeks, I decided to follow my motto, “cook once, eat twice.” Spinach raita is a refreshing, yogurt based dish, made with spinach, yogurt, and tons of healthy spices. Perfect for a hot, summer evening, this dish can be used as a sandwich/burger spread, a dip for fresh veggies, a side of Indian rice, or simply just to enjoy on its own!
Indian Spinach Raita
Adapted from Manjula’s Kitchen
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil (vegetable oil or olive oil would work too) *for a lower fat dish, you can omit this and use cooking spray
- 1 bunch spinach, washed and chopped fine
- 2″ piece of fresh ginger grated
- 2 green chilies (minced finely)
- 1 cup thick, unsweetened yogurt (I used fat-free greek yogurt)
- Salt (to taste)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 5 cloves garlic (minced finely)
- 1 dry red chili chopped (or you can replace this with 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper)
- In a medium pan over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp sunflower oil. Add the spinach, ginger and green chillies and cook till the spinach is soft and wilted (~5 minutes). Remove from heat and place into a small bowl.
- Add the yogurt and salt to the sauteed spinach and mix well. Set aside.
- Add the other, heat remaining 1 tbsp of sunflower oil to a new/cleaned saucepan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, minced garlic, red chili and red chili pieces. Cook until the components are golden brown. Remove from heat.
- Add the cumin/pepper mix to the yogurt/spinach mix and whisk until well-incorporated.
- Serve as a vegetable dip, on top of brown rice, with pita bread/naan, or on top of a sunflower lentil veggie burger!