The super ‘saag’ of Indian kitchen is back in season. Bright and verdant, the spinach leaves are now plentily available across vegetable markets and supermarkets in the city. This storehouse of nutrients not only benefits in itself but also blends easily with all other members in the kitchen, both veg and non-veg, for a tasty and healthy treat!
Low in calorie and high in vitamins, spinach, or palak as it is commonly referred to as, can be used in several ways in the kitchen. Besides the healthy ‘palak’ saag, this green leafy vegetable works wonders when combined with daal, particularly moong and chana daal. Palak paneer is an all time favourite dish for winters. Aloo, soyabean, chhole palak and palak corn are equally popular dishes in the Indian kitchen. Palak tastes great with egg too. Palak egg masala is a sumptuous treat. This apart, murg and mutton palak (chicken and mutton in spinach puree ) are some other delicacies that can be made with spinach.
The story of spinach doesn’t end here. When combined with dough, palak can be used for parathas, pooris and chapatis too. It can also be used with rice, either alone or mixed with mushrooms or soyabean chunks and corn for an appetizing dish. Besides Indian, spinach is extensively used in continental and Thai varieties too. Spinach soup, nuggets (rolled in breadcrumbs) and spinach egg rolls are sought after dishes. This apart, spinach is a common ingredient in lasagne and sandwiches, going perfect with breads!
Spinach has several health benefits. According to Sunita Sahoo, dietician and nutritionist, Apollo Hospitals, the best thing about spinach is that it is green and leafy. Being a rich source of iron, it is beneficial for people of all age groups. ‘‘Kids particularly should have a good intake of palak, be it in their khichdi or daal, as iron is needed in their growing stage. This apart, people with low haemoglobin level should also take as much palak as they can. Females generally have bloodlessness problem and palak is something they should relish,’’ she adds.
This apart, diabetics can also comsume as much spinach as they can. Stating that spinach is also a great source of fibre, she further informs that a good intake of this vegetable would also aid in digestion. ‘’It not only blends easily with other vegetables but when combined with daal, paneer or soyabean, it becomes a great source of iron and protein and does wonders for the immune system,’’ she mentions.
According to Ritu Sharma, dietician VLCC, spinach is also great for the skin. ‘‘Spinach is a good source of Vitamin C and D, which helps in preventing pigmentation and also fights wrinkles and thus helps in anti-ageing. This apart, being fibre rich, spinach aids in skin moisturising and is thus beneficial during winters,’’ she adds.
So this winter, experiment a little more with spinach and enjoy the goodness of one of the most nutrient-rich foods in your kitchen !