Spinach Stew (Instant Pot Recipe)
Being away from home for over a decade and becoming part of a diaspora has made food an integral part of connecting to my roots. I always wonder what my grand parents and their parents ate, how they cooked food, what kind of cooking techniques were used and so much more! My grandparents were from Sindh, in the north western region of India which after independence from the British became Pakistan in the year 1947. Most Hindu’s from Sindh moved to several parts of India and my paternal family settled in Bombay which is where my father was born and raised and also where I grew up.
The only way for me to connect the dots going back to my origin is through food so this is one special recipe that I of course modified (to all the purists out there, please don’t hate me!). ‘Sai Bhaaji’ in Sindhi or ‘Green Vegetable’ in English is a sautéed and mashed up spinach stew. This is possibly the healthiest Sindhi delicacy, made primarily using fresh spinach leaves, additionally some other greens (fenugreek, dill, amaranth) and few other vegetables.
I used fresh organic baby spinach and some dill, honestly I feel dill is so underrated! It lends the best flavor to this recipe, however be careful with the proportions…you don’t want dill to overpower the spinach.
I chopped up all the vegetables into cubes which was possibly the most difficult part of the recipe! Traditionally Sai Bhaaji calls for spit chickpeas but I didn’t use it as I don’t digest it too well.
Now the fun part, my InstantPot! (please check the recipe for alternate methods to cook). I first set it in the sauté mode.
Add oil, cumin, ginger, garlic, spicy green chilies and fry.
Then add the mixed vegetables, mix well and add the chopped tomato.
Add all the spinach, dill, spices, salt and mix well. Then add water and close the lid.
Set the InstantPot in manual mode for four minutes and then quick release the pressure. Set the InstantPot on sauté mode to evaporate any water that’s remaining in the spinach stew and mash the vegetables with a spatula. Thats it, easy peasy!
I topped the spinach stew with some chopped garlic fried in ghee and a squeeze of lime (cause I’ve been craving tart!). This goes so well with a bowl of rice and some pickle…Yummy!
- 8 Cups chopped spinach
- 1 Cup chopped dill
- 1 Inch piece ginger, sliced
- 6 Cloves Garlic
- 3-4 Hot green chilies
- 2 Tbsp Mustard oil
- 1 Tsp Cumin seeds
- 1/4 Tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 Tbsp Coriander powder
- 1 Small sweet potato, peeled and cut into small pieces
- 1 Medium carrot, cut into small pieces
- 1 Small eggplant, cut into small pieces
- 1 Tomato
- 1 Small red onion, finely chopped
- Salt to Taste
- 1/2 Cup water
- 1 Tbsp Ghee (Clarified Butter) for Tempering
- Put oil in a saucepan/pressure cooker/Instant Pot, add 4 lobes of chopped garlic, chopped green chilies and cumin seeds. Fry for about a minute.
- Add the onions and sauté till the onions loose their color.
- Add all the chopped vegetables (potato, eggplant, carrot) and sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add the chopped tomato and mix.
- Add the greens (spinach and dill), a chopped tomato, salt, spices and mix well.
- Add the water, cover and let the greens and vegetables cook. If using a pressure cooker wait up to two whistles. If using the IP then cook in 'manual' mode for 4 minutes.
- After pressure cooking, uncover and let the stew cook over medium heat until the water evaporates. If using an InstantPot cook in the sauté mode for 2 minutes. Lightly mash the vegetables.
- Heat ghee in a separate pan and fry 2 cloves of chopped garlic, add this to the spinach stew.
- Serve with a flatbread or over rice.
- Traditionally this recipe calls for split chickpeas, you can add 1/4 cup of soaked split chickpeas along with the vegetables.
- You can use a yukon potato instead of a sweet potato.