SPICE KIT VARIATIONS

In many of my Spice Kit recipes you can substitute some of the key ingredients or add others to make a delicious variation on the basic recipe.  Here are some I can recommend; if you have any others, I'd love to hear about them.

BEANS PORIYAL

This dish is wonderful with fresh whole green beans too.  Use 1 lb of trimmed green beans instead of frozen green beans.  This winter I have been using 1½ to 2 packets of Pero family farms fresh snipped green beans that are absolutely fantastic.

You can optionally add 2-3 shallots (sliced) after adding Spice Sachet 2, and sauté them till translucent before adding the green beans.

Broccoli Poriyal:  Broccoli is not a vegetable traditionally used in India, but it works really well.  Use 1 lb broccoli florets instead of the beans.  When I make broccoli I like to first plunge it in boiling water, drain immediately and put it in a bowl of ice water to keep its brilliant green color before stir frying.

Beans Poriyal with Shrimp:  An incredibly easy and delicious variation on the Poriyal with green beans: just add 1/4 to 1/3 lb uncooked shrimp (peeled and cleaned) when you add Spice Sachet 2 and Spice Sachet 3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp is cooked through and the beans are tender yet crunchy, about 3-4 minutes.

SAAG PANEER

While the Spice Kit recipe calls for frozen spinach, you can of course make this dish with fresh spinach also.   Fresh spinach tends to have a lot of sand and grit, so you have to wash it well at least 3 times.  I discovered a fantastic (albeit somewhat expensive) alternative: I used a 1 lb bag of Taylor's triple washed baby spinach instead and it was fabulously easy.   Cook the spinach with 1/4 - 1/2 cup of water till completely wilted.  If you want to retain that bright green color, keep a large bowl of ice water on the side.  Once completely wilted, dunk the spinach in the ice water before pureeing and adding to the sauce.

SHRIMP PATIA

This dish traditionally is also made with fish.  Use a firm white fish – I think blow fish will be great if you can get it.   Cook it the same way as the shrimp but be much more gentle with the fish when cooking, so that it doesn't fall apart.

KEEMA

You can make this dish with ground lamb instead of beef or turkey. It's quite delicious.

 VEGETARIAN VERSION:  For vegetarians I have made it with Quorn and it's not bad.  You can find other meat substitutes here and here.  And here's an article about fake meat that you might like.