Indian Spice Night

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!

One response to “Indian Spice Night

  1. Informative blog you have here friend. I would like to emphasize the benefit of knowing what works and what does not. Some things just are simply better worked out than others. I hope everyone reading this blog agrees. Hey, it is essential information, so why not? Can be a lifesaver if used properly.

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