You're going to have to trust me on this one. It took me forever to get around to posting it because I had to get at least a couple of pictures of the rather more photogenic ingredients. I didn't want the only photographic representation of the dish to be a picture of the finished product, lest it drive you away entirely. You see, this dish isn't going to win any beauty pageants. Frankly, I was hesitant to include a picture of the finished dish at all; and although I did eventually include one, I sure didn't want to lead with it, lest you run away without ever giving it a chance.
The texture is gloppy and vaguely mushy*; and unlike certain other gloppy and vaguely mushy things, it doesn't have a lovely, vibrant color going for it. The color here is somewhere between bad 70s shag rug and... well... let's not continue down that road after all, shall we? There are also little bits of limp green stuff suspended in the gloppiness. Like I said, not going to get high marks for aesthetics.
But bear with me; better yet, take a leap of faith and cook this unlikely winner. Wait until you taste it, or even just smell it from across the room as it cooks, and it will surely win you over. Why? It's a party. A party in your mouth. The split peas (yellow ones) are incidental; what makes this dish a keeper is the chile pepper, the coconut milk, and the saffron.
If that looks like a big mess of ingredients all thrown together in a pot, that's because it is. This dish is surprisingly simple in that there's no sauteing the aromatics in oil, none of the procedure that I think of as routine for virtually any dish containing onion and/or garlic. You just dump most of the ingredients in the pot, add some water, and cook until they're... well, until they're mushy. (Trust me! It's good!) Then add the coconut milk and the spinach, let the spinach wilt, stir it all together, and you're done. And I swear on all that is delicious in this world that it tastes better than it looks. Recipe--and a picture of the final product--below.
I'm sitting here laughing at the thought of the looks on all your faces when you see this and wrinkle your noses. Saffron and coconut milk, people, just think about the saffron and the coconut milk.
* In truth, the gloppiness is actually a virtue in my book. I love soupy, messy foods that I can spoon over rice and then stir together to form an unsightly but superbly flavored mess of mush-with-rice. For me, that is a perfect recipe for comfort food. It's no accident that soupy, messy, flavorful rice--risotto--is one of my ultimate comfort foods.
From My Blogroll
Wednesday, July 8, 2009