Soft, buttery green leaves with bursts of acidity; I am currently harvesting my chards and spinach with ruthless efficiency, knowing that if – when – they go to seed, they will become our epicurean guinea pigs’ rich pickings rather than ours. I guilefully cook them in many disguises, but here they wilt down into a Sri Lankan cashew nut curry that is heady with cardamom, coconut and curry leaves.
Cardamom and black pepper cashew spinach curry
I might make a milder curry for the children and then up the chilli for us, allowing the layers of sweet aromatics and fiery heat to come at us in intensely appealing waves.
Prep 10 min
Soak 1 hr
Cook 30 min
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp black cardamo
250g cashews, soaked for 1 hour, then drained
1-4 green bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
½ tsp turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
1 x 400g tin coconut milk
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 red onions, peeled and sliced
10-12 fresh curry leaves
1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
250g spinach leaves, washed and shaken dry
White rice or flatbreads
Gently toast the cumin and cardamom seeds, grind to a powder, then tip into a medium-sized pan with the nuts, chillies, turmeric, cinnamon and coconut milk. Season generously, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, warm the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions, curry leaves and fennel seeds, season, then saute gently for about 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and sweet.
Stir the onion mix into the coconut pan, add the spinach and cook gently for a few minutes, until the leaves collapse into the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then serve with other curries or dals, or simply with white rice and/or flatbreads.
And for the rest of the week …
The same spice mixture is also delicious scattered over roast cauliflower or slow-simmered with chicken or courgettes.