Today we have one of my favourite types of recipe – Déjà-Food!
Betcha thought I was going to say Indian?
Déjà-Food is my preferred way to describe the cunning use of the leftovers from a previous meal. I’ve always disliked the word ‘leftovers’ as it might conjure up images of plate-scrapings, whereas in actual fact, it’s the food that was cooked but never served. It’s obviously a play on words stemming from the French phrase déjà vu (literally meaning ‘already seen’), but it also manages to avoid any negative conotations of that dreaded word ‘leftovers’.
Another reason why I’m such a big fan of Déjà-Food is that it means less work for me in getting a meal together. Cooking potatoes, for example, can take up to an hour to boil, if you’re cooking them whole. With cold, cooked potatoes from yesterday’s supper, this dish can come together in no more than 15 minutes.
I’m such a fan of Déjà-Food, if I’m planning ahead (I’m rarely that organised, but occasionally it happens) I will now deliberately cook extra, specifically to use the following day. There are lots of reasons for making use of leftovers, not least the financial, but not many recipes or TV programs actually go to the trouble of showing you just how easily it can be done. Saying “….and you can use the leftovers to make more great family meals” isn’t very helpful if you’re not feeling particularly inspired. Here’s hoping this recipe helps.
There are lovely big bags of baby spinach leaves in the shops at the moment, and spinach is so very good for you, you could feel doubly virtuous by whipping this together. Use green chillies by all means if you prefer, I just think the flecks of red look so pretty with the green.
Of course, this is just one suggestion for the hundreds of recipes you can make with cooked potatoes – we’ll get to the others later. Maybe start a national campaign. I’d call it “Got Spuds?”
Saag Aloo – Indian Spiced Potatoes and Spinach
50g ghee or 3tbs vegetable oil
5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled
4 cloves of garlic
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
2 red chillies, de-seeded
500g cooked potatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp salt
250g baby spinach leaves, washed
- Put the ginger, garlic, onions and chillies in a mini food processor and blitz until finely chopped.
- Cut the potatoes into bite-sized chunks and microwave in a covered bowl for 2-3 minutes until heated through.
- In a large pan over medium heat, add the ghee or oil and then the ginger garlic mix and stir for 2 minutes.
- Add the spices and salt, stir briefly, then add the potatoes. Turn the potatoes over gently until coated with the spice mix.
- Add the spinach leaves and remove the pan from the heat. Gently stir until the spinach leaves are wilted but still bright green. The heat of the pan and the potatoes will provide enough heat to achieve this.