India

Hey All,

Recently I joined a Facebook group called ‘Amsterdam Cooks’. I was not really sure if it will be nice or just a ton of spam as usual, but it turned out to be a nice place where people really just share cooking ideas. So, naturally, I figured: THIS IS IT! I can gather infinite cooks from here for the blog! I posted, I asked, tried to recruit all the internationals… and… received¬†1 mail. I won’t lie, I was surprised I got no more – but then there was an even greater surprise: that the one and only person reaching out is actually the coolest!

So, this is the story of one Facebook message and a delicious Indian spinach shorba.

All you need – spinach, chickpeas, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, oil, rice, mint, bay leaves, chicken (optional), onion, lemon, cumin seeds, cinnamon, chilli flakes, coriander, Kitchen King spice blend (+ many more spices I forgot the name of)

Social media has really done it right this time! I met the loveliest girl, Gauri, and she prepared the tastiest dish. The list of ingredients above may not be complete, sorry – but the reason behind is a valid one: although we were complete strangers to each other standing in that kitchen, we ended up having the best talks, so I fell into complete distraction. If Gauri did not mention the steps or the recipe specifically, I probably could not tell you anything cooking related. Luckily she did remind me to take photos every now and then (not reflecting well on my blogging skills). My cook of this meal is originally from the Indian city of Pune, but she moved to Eindhoven when she was 8. This shorba recipe is her own adaptation of the more traditional version – worry not though, it won’t be complicated to make!

If you would like to make broth from scratch, then start with that. We basically just boiled chicken, a bay leaf, and some spices. I don’t go into more detail here because everyone has their own preferences – but then again, you can just as well use bouillon cubes.

While this is cooking, chop your onion, cloves of garlic, and pieces of ginger. These go frying in a pan on a sprinkle of olive oil. Also add all the dry spices. After a couple of minutes you can also slowly start adding handfuls of spinach. In the meantime, start cooking your rice too.

While this process did not take longer than around 15 minutes, by this point we have already covered topics of family, moving around, work, and most importantly: our common love for food. I knew it was going to be a great evening.

When the spinach got all mushy and your broth is ready too, you mix these two in a blender. Also add lemon juice, more spices (e.g. some of the Kitchen King blend), as well as chickpeas for the right consistency. This is an Indian dish, so I bet you expected a much more complicated, 4-hour-long process – so did I! But it really is this simple.

Gauri’s mum likes to add sugar into the mix as well in order to find the right balance of aromas, but the cook herself enjoys the pure power of spices without any counter-taste – so this may be an option for you too.

Don’t forget about the rice!

Garnishing may be the nicest part of this dish, because there are so many things you can add to this soup-like meal. I say soup-like because it is somewhat thicker than a regular soup and feels more hearty as well. Very tasty!!

1.4

Grab a bowl and half fill it with rice and shredded pieces of chicken (if you used any for the broth). A few ladles of shorba follow, the rest goes as you wish. We fried extra garlic with chilli to go on top of our meal and also added a spoonful of thick yogurt, fresh coriander, and pieces of cashew (though almond supposedly works even better).

Spinach Shorba

The only reason this post is not longer because if I started telling you all the things we discussed this evening, the post would become the longest ever. One thing is for sure: I have found the perfect partner in crime for cooking and for eating out! Also, if you like dancing, please check the upcoming Bollywood Dance Workshop that my wonderful chef is organizing – after trying her recipe you should also learn some of her dance moves! Hope to see you there, dear reader, and thanks again for cooking, Gauri!

The Indian