Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pea and Spinach Rotis or Popeye Rotis

Taking forward the Roti week which I have embarked upon, I present Spinach Rotis--a basic staple which becomes attractive due to its colourful mirrored self, uhm a welcome change for most, from dieters to kids who find it alluringly delicious, it’s a bonus as well—as it scores high on the satiety factor, is low in calories, nutrients dense and wholesome meal—, that’s true, this sort of change is nice, refreshing, nutritious, but then how exactly did I arrive at this vegetable Roti thing: it’s interesting… as a kid I hated spinach and it was pre Popeye times so my mother couldn’t even lure me with muscle dreams, but having a ‘u must clean your plate mom!’ my Spinach eating was a de-rigueur. Spinach and pea soups and vegetable stews were the main event. Between slurps of soup, on a wintry night the four of us would watch TV and think of the main course, hurrying through the flavoured watery soup, we would all build up a mountain of discards in an outsized family bowl. We'd always create a rumpus over those vegetable chunks (Eat them? toss on each others plate? Or re-toss them into something else?) a dilemma which my mother had to endure on most of these nippy nights when we had excess of leftovers on our family bowl. She then introduced the vegetable filled Rotis, everyday sweating over some new filling, some new twist, and some new drama. And that's how ma created excitement before the dinner was announced. These unfussy and relaxed dinners always left me with a light stomach and uplifted mood, which is why I still make these stuffed rotis and buy spinach bunches almost every week…nostalgia, what else.

Now if you don’t have readily available leftover stew or vegetables, and are awed by the near mythical properties of the humble Spinach, fret no more, you can still whip up a quick stuffing and make delicious Rotis. Variations are abound , all you need is have things readily available in your shelf like some fresh or frozen peas, tamarind, coconut for an Indian touch and mushrooms, beans and parsley for a western flavour. Just keep one thing in mind, that its best to cook the spinach right after you buy them –storing it makes its limp and lame…quite unappetizing to start with!

1) ½ cup dried spinach (if making from a soup)/2 cups fresh spinach
2) ½ cup cook, boiled, mashed pea/1 cup fresh peas
3) 1 tsp tamarind paste
4) 1/2 tsp gur/jaggery
5) salt to taste

For the seasoning
6) 1 tsp oil
7) 1 sprig karipatta/sweet neem
8) 1 t mustard seeds
9) 1 pinch of asafetida
10) 1 tsp shredded ginger
11) 2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
12) ¼ cup coconut
13)2-3 slit green/ red chilies

For the rotis
2 cups all purpose flour
1cup curd
Salt to taste

How I did it:
Cook the peas, till they are soft but not overdone, and dry the paste and add all the other masalas, namely from 1-5.
For the tempering, heat the oil, add mustard seeds and let it splutter, now add karipatta, green chilies, ginger, garlic, a pinch of asafetida and coconut. Dont let it brown too much
To the above mixture add spinach and peas. Spinach should be done quickly, but take some time to mix all of them into a homogeneous mixture. Lightly grind it in the mixer if you think its too grainy to be stuffed.
This mixture can be had on its own with steaming rice and some ghee.

For the rotis
Knead flour at knight with curds and salt, and cover with a wet cloth. Leave overnight. Refrigerate for an hour before rolling it out.
Stuff a spoonful of the above mixture and roll it on a flat rolling board. Take care so that the stuffing does not spill out. Fry or roast it one by one on hot pan.
Serve with sauce or chutney.
Tastes heavenly

Try using the taco shells and stuffing this mixture, and stir frying them. Have it with sour cream dip, Its yum!
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