Thursday, May 26, 2011

Some Good News For A Change and A Good Recipe To Go With It

After the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Rodney King’s plea for peace “Can’t we all get along?” resonated throughout America. He would have been really pleased if had gone to the 2011 21st Skokie Festival of Cultures in Skokie, Illinois because he would have seen everyone doing exactly that. In this suburb of approximately 65,000 people, a Festival of Cultures is held yearly to celebrate the village’s ethnic diversity. This year, 36 nationality groups participated.

The Festival is usually held in Oakton Park on the third weekend of May. We arrived at the Festival just before a cloudburst interrupted a performance by Brazilian dancers.
Brazilian Dancers
We were able to see the rest when it resumed after the rain stopped. The performance was beautiful.We also enjoyed performances by dancers from Armenia, Thailand, India, and the Filipines. Where else would you be able to see dancers from all these countries on the same stage?

Walking around to all the booths felt like a world tour. We met people from Haiti, Cuba, Slovakia, Thailand, and Ireland just to name a few.
Slovakian Booth
Haitian Booth
This international celebration called for an international recipe. This one for chickpea and spinach curry is from the New Zealand cookbook 100 Favourite 20 Minute Dishes by Simon and Alison Holst. They suggested serving it with naan [Indian bread]. We didn’t have any, but it was good with pita. It would have been good with tortillas and melted cheese. It serves 4 to 6 people and really was a 20 minute recipe. And it was really tasty.
Chickpea and Spinach Curry

                                                        Chickpea and Spinach Curry
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed, peeled, and diced
1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
2-3 medium potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes
2-3 tsp curry powder
½-1 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
½ pound package frozen spinach thawed
1 can whole tomatoes in juice
½ pound can chickpeas drained
¼ to ½ cup water if needed
2 tsp garam masala (I didn’t have any but it came out great anyway.)
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp chopped coriander leaves

 1.Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and stir fry until the onion has softened and is turning clear. Add the cubed potatoes, curry powder, cumin seeds, and bay leaves. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add the spinach with its liquid and the tomatoes in juice. Crush and break up the tomatoes. Stir in the drained chickpeas.
2. Simmer for 15 to 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Add the rest of the ingredients.
3.Serve in bowls or on plates. Enjoy. 


Dianne MacCormick said...

This curry is delicious. I've made it quite a bit over the years. I had lost the recipe so with a google search I was delighted to find it on your blog. I'm going to be making it in a couple of days for some vegetarian friends. Alison Holst has had many TV cooking shows over the years here in New Zealand, and many many cook books. :-)

Lisa Sachs said...

It was good to hear from you Diane. I love the recipes in Alison Holst's book and make many of them. My husband and I enjoyed a wonderful trip to New Zealand and I was amazed by the creativity of many of the cooks there.