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Spiced Spinach (Black Mustard Seed)

Here, fresh spinach is wilted in oil scented with a dried red chili and pungent mustard seeds. These tiny seeds of the mustard plant lend a deep floral aroma and a hint of spice, along with a vibrant peppery finish. To achieve the right flavor and texture, be sure the mustard seeds “pop” in the hot oil before adding the spinach to the pan.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. spinach
  • 1 Tbs. Indian sesame oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 dried red chili
  • 1 tsp. black mustard seed
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste

Directions:

Remove any very tough stems from the spinach but otherwise leave the stems intact. Rinse the spinach thoroughly and drain. Set aside.

In a large fry pan over high heat, warm the oil. When it is very hot, add the chili and fry, stirring, until it turns very dark brown, about 1 minute. Add the mustard seed and cover the pan. When the seeds stop sputtering, after about 30 seconds, uncover and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic turns golden, about 1 minute.

Add the spinach, a handful of leaves at a time, and stir gently. As soon as the spinach leaves wilt, add more. When all of the spinach leaves have been added, stir well and add the 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring, until the excess moisture evaporates, about 5 minutes. Adjust the seasonings with salt. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.

Adapted from a recipe by Williams-Sonoma.