The summer internships have started and since all our husbands have finally gone off to work, the wives decided to get together and have a potluck dinner. Three of my dear friends, who are married to Shankar's classmates, and I shared a fantastic meal last night. We got together, discussed life, Akanksha's pregnancy, what our plans are post graduation, and compared where each of us will be traveling to over the summer to visit our husbands. The consensus on the dinner was that we would never have gotten such a good meal in any of the Indian restaurants in Ann Arbor, and how wonderful and cost effective it was to get together for a home cooked meal where we each left with lunch packed up for the following day. Life is so much better with Girlfriends!
The lovely blue china bowls were picked up this weekend as Shankar and I roamed the streets of Chicago's Chinatown as that is where I went travelling. I decided to make spinach since we picked up a few fresh bunches at the fantastic vegetable markets on Devon St. in Chicago.
Pooja, Akanksha, Namrata & Kanchana's Potluck Dinner Menu
Masala Baked Macaroni - P
Homemade Rotis - N
Moong Daal with Tomato - N
Cholas - A
Aloo Palak - K
Aloo Gobi - K
Rice - P
I wanted to use the fresh spinach in my fridge, so the first place i headed was JFI Greens, a collection of recipes at Indira's Mahanandi by fellow food bloggers using all kinds of green leafy vegetables. This recipe is taken from one of my favorite sites, Anita's "A Mad Tea Party". I love the simplicity of AMTP's dishes. My husband is better at making dishes with complex spice blends, but I enjoy making dishes where the vegetables are highlighted with a few key aromatic ingredients. AMTP recommends mustard oil, but I used olive oil.
1 bunch of chopped fresh spinach (or 1 package frozen chopped), 2 medium potatoes boiled and cubed, 1 tomato diced, 1 tbsp minced ginger, 3 large green chillies minced (AMTP says 6 chillies split), 1 onion minced, a pinch of asafetida, salt
1. In a few tbsp of oil saute the ginger and green chillies and asafetida. Then cook the onions.
2. Add the tomatoes until they release some water, and turn into a pulp.
3. Add the potatoes and salt them generously.
4. Add the spinach and mix it in until it wilts.
The Aloo Gobi recipe is from my friend Sandhya Balan. She and her husband Jay invited Shankar and I over for dinner and she served up a feast that included this recipe. I liked it so much I had to know how to make it. She shared below, and look carefully for her secret ingredient! I added the methi leaves to it.
1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 onion sliced, 2 medium potatoes boiled and cubed, 1 cup cauliflower florets, 1/4 cup of frozen or fresh peas, 1 tsp dried methi leaves (optional), 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp sambar powder, salt
1. Fry the cumin seeds in some oil.
2. Saute the onions.
3. Add the turmeric, and chili powder.
4. Add the potatoes and mix. Add salt.
5. Add the cauliflower, peas, methi, sambar powder and mix.
6. Transfer to a casserole dish and bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 25-30 minutes until nicely roasted.
Roasting the vegetables in the oven give it a very unique flavor, as does the sambar powder!
Verdict: I think everyone agreed that all the dishes were delicious. Namrata's homemade roti's were particularly appreciated. Akanksha is such a sweetheart and woke up early to make her chole before working all day on their release! Thanks to Pooja for welcoming us into her home and for her innovative masala macaroni dish. I'm already looking forward to my lunch today!