Let us start by declaring our belief in Madhur Jaffrey as a deity of cooking. As far as we’re concerned her recipes are the bee’s knees of easy, phenomenal, vegetarian dishes from around the world. This simple method of preparing spinach is a perfect example – it is at once interesting and strangely familiar and always supremely comforting after a long day or a bad storm. The process of slowly cooking down the spinach in oil and its own juices creates a deeply rich flavor that I never thought spinach could attain. The spinach literally taps into its higher power of spinach-ness and the result is well worth ribboning three pounds of spinach.
The thinner you ribbon the spinach and slice the onions the more delicate the final product will turn out. If you’ve never ribboned spinach before, the easiest way to do it is to de-stem your spinach leaves and then stack them on top of each other in a large pile of 20 or so leaves keeping them all facing the same direction, then thinly slice diagonally across the leaves. This will result in the longest ribbon pieces possible. It’s actually kind of fun once you get the hang of it.
Also, it is crucial for the onions to reach a true deep brown for this dish to achieve its fullest taste, so when you think you’re onions are brown enough, give them another minute. If you’ve cut them thinly enough they will become stringy when done.
Musalmani (Recipe From Madhur Jaffreys World Vegetarian cookbook)
You can use ghee, vegetable oil, olive oil, butter, or any combination thereof in this dish. We usually use half butter, half olive oil.
Serves 6 as a side dish
6 Tbs Ghee/Butter/Olive Oil/Peanut Oil/Vegetable Oil
3 whole dried hot chiles
2 medium/large, or 3 small onions, cut into thin half rings
3 pounds fresh spinach, cut into fine ribbons
1 tsp salt
Heat the oil, or combination of oils/butter, in a large, wide, heavy bottomed pot (ie the one you make large amounts of soup in), set over medium high heat. Give the oil a chance to get quite hot, then add the chilies and stir frequently until the chilies darken significantly in color.
Add the onion and stir frequently until they reach a deep brown, then add the spinach and salt. Cover and allow the spinach to wilt, then reduce the heat to low, stir again and recover your pot. Cook the spinach on medium heat for 25 minutes, and try to resist the urge to uncover and stir during this time. Finally, uncover, stir and allow to finish cooking 5-6 minutes uncovered or until very little liquid is left at the bottom of the pot.