My Favorite Meal of the Week – Palak Chaat

Many of you may be looking at the title of this post wondering what it is. Well, it just so happens to be one of my favorite things to order at a particularly good (read: fancy, not greasy take out) Indian restaurant in DC, Rasika. The first time I went to this restaurant was for Dave’s birthday a couple years ago. And in typical Dave fashion, he researched the restaurant in advance on Yelp so that he showed up knowing exactly what to order. One of the dishes he ordered was the Palak Chaat. And I have to say, when he ordered this dish, I was skeptical. It was lightly fried spinach with a yogurt date sauce, which really just didn’t sound that good.

Oh dear god, was I wrong. I can’t even explain it, but this dish is seriously amazing. The spinach is so light and crunchy and all of the flavors are just unreal. The point of this whole story is that I love this dish so much that I wanted to at least try to recreate it at home. I went into the process knowing that I would never make something as delicious as the salad at Rasika, but I at least had to try. And I wasn’t disappointed. I read a couple of different recipes and combined them to come up with the following recipe. Also if you like Indian food, watch out for next week’s post – chicken tikka masala – my other favorite dish at Rasika.

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Recipe a combination of this recipe and this recipe .

Ingredients (serves 2)
1 bag spinach
1-3 cups canola oil
Kosher salt to taste
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 dates, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
Pinch of coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chopped tomato
1 tablespoon chopped red onion
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup gram flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon chili powder

1. First create the yogurt sauce by mixing the yogurt, chopped dates, curry powder, coriander, cumin, lemon juice and water. Once it is mixed, set aside. The longer you let this sit, the better!

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2. Heat the oil in a pot on the stove over medium heat. You want to have about 1.5-2 inches of oil in the bottom, so the exact amount of oil you use will depend on your pot size. If you have a thermometer, try to get the temperature between 300-350. If you don’t have one, stick a wood spoon in the oil, and when bubbles appear (but it doesn’t splatter), you’re good to go.

3. While the oil is heating, make sure that your spinach is as dry as possible. Any moisture on the leaves will cause additional splattering when you place the oil in the pot. I even got out a blowdryer just to make sure the leaves were dry. Repeat: dry the spinach!

4. Mix the gram flour, teaspoon of salt, baking soda, and chili powder. Once the spinach is dry, spread the leaves on a pan and sprinkle the gram flour on each side.

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5. Then place the leaves in the hot oil in batches. Be very careful of splattering. Because even though the leaves are dry, there will still be some. Use a slotted spoon to place the leaves. They’ll take about 30-60 seconds to fry. Remove them as soon as they start to turn brown and place them on a paper towel to dry. The leaves will be very brittle so don’t move them too much once removed from the pot. Continue frying until all of the leaves are done.

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6. Place the leaves in two bowls, and put a spoonful of the yogurt sauce on top. Finish with some chopped tomato, onion and cilantro on top. Enjoy!  Pictured below with the chicken tikka masala that will be featured on the blog next week.

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This salad won’t really last so be sure to eat it on day one.

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