Punjabi Buttermilk Stew with Spinach Dumplings

Serves 6

For the dumplings:

  • Two 10ounces boxes of frozen spinach, thawed
  • 2/3cup gram flour (also called chickpea flour and besan in Indian stores)
  • 2small onions, finely chopped
  • 2green chiles, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4teaspoons salt
  • 1teaspoon chile flakes
  • 1teaspoon amchur (sour mango powder)
  • 1teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2teaspoons chaat masala
  • 4 to 5cups vegetable oil for frying
  1. Squeeze as much water as possible from the spinach. In a medium mixing bowl, add the spinach and the remaining ingredients listed, except for the oil.
  2. Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven until it is shimmering over medium-high heat.
  3. Drop heaping tablespoons of dumpling batter into the hot oil and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden.
  4. Flip the dumplings over and fry the other side until golden, about 2 minutes.
  5. Remove dumplings from oil and drain on paper towel-lined plate.
For the stew:

  • 3tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2quarts buttermilk (low-fat or full-fat is fine)
  • 1/3cup gram flour (also called chickpea flour and besan in Indian stores)
  • 3/4teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 1/4teaspoons salt
  • 1/2teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 1-2serrano chiles, finely chopped
  • 6garlic cloves, crushed to a paste
  • 1 1/2inch ginger, crushed to a paste
  • 2yellow onions, sliced into half moons
  • 1teaspoon red chile flakes
  • Basmati rice, for serving (optional)
  1. Blend the buttermilk, gram flour, turmeric, and salt in a blender until combined. If some of the buttermilk doesn’t fit, it is okay to use 1 quart of buttermilk, then add the rest of it during step 6, as instructed
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Add the fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, and mustard seeds. Cook until the mustard seeds pop, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the serrano chiles and sauté for one minute.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden.
  5. Add the onion and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes in the vegetable oil, until softened but not brown.
  6. Add the chile flakes plus all of the buttermilk (blended and, if not all of it fit in your blender, plain). At this point the mixture is a pale yellow color. The color will intensify and become bright as the gravy cooks.
  7. Turn the heat up to medium-high and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat to low and cook the stew for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Add dumplings and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  10. Optional: Serve over basmati rice

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