Simple curry sauce with hidden spinach


This recipe for a vegetarian curry sauce is really easy and it contains a lovely portion of hidden spinach. It's quick to make and the quantities below will make enough for one meal and one portion to freeze. You can add whatever you like to it - mixed vegetables, potatoes and lentils all work well.

We had it this week with potatoes, carrots and peas and two out of three kids had a clean plate. And the third (the eldest of course, who usually likes peas) only left the peas so I was over the moon!

I have a mini-internal battle every time I hide vegetables in something - part of me thinks that I shouldn't be doing this any more and that kids need to get used to seeing vegetables on their plate - but spinach is a pretty challenging vegetable for kids (for my kids anyway). Even Baby S, who pretty much eats everything at the moment struggles with leafy green things. So adding a portion and blending it in means that they get all the goodness without any of the drama. It does leave green flecks throughout the sauce - but amazingly they haven't asked why. I suspect they think that it's herbs.

Spinach is good for you because it contains lots of fibre, iron and vitamin K amongst other vitamins. There's more information about the nutritional benefits of spinach on the BBC Good Food website.

Anyway, saying that you could easily leave the spinach out of this recipe if you don't have any to hand or if your kids won't eat something with the dreaded green bits in it - I know R wouldn't have eaten anything with green bits when he was 2. It's still delicious without the spinach added in.

Oh and I should say that this recipe is based on one that I learnt from a man called Biem-Sen when I was travelling in India 14 years ago. How it can possibly be so long ago I have no idea but I must have made this sauce, or a version of it, hundreds, if not thousands, of times since then.

Here's what to do:

1 tbsp sunflower oil
A heaped tsp cumin seeds
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
A large thumb-sized piece of ginger, chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
Chilli powder (optional, to taste)
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp garam masala
Salt (optional, to taste)
A large handful of spinach leaves, washed and roughly shredded

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the cumin seeds. Fry over a medium heat until they're starting to brown. Add the onion. Cook for a few minutes, stirring well, then turn the heat to low and cover for 10 minutes until softened. Stir halfway.

Turn the heat back to medium, then add the garlic, ginger, herbs and spices. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer away for 15-20 minutes. This is a great dish to make in advance by the way because the flavours only get better with time - so make it in the afternoon for dinner, or the day before.

Once the sauce has slightly thickened add the garam masala, salt (if using) and spinach leaves. Heat through until the spinach has wilted then blend the sauce using a stick blender. This last part isn't essential if you don't mind the spinach leaves showing.

Serve with your favourite curry ingredients, rice and/or bread.

This makes enough for dinner for two adults and three children, plus two kids tea sized portions to freeze.

What's your favourite curry? What would you add to this sauce? I'd love to hear in the comments below!

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