Malabar spinach is a kind of leafy vegetable typically grown in areas outside of the US, and despite its name, it actually isn’t a type of spinach. Malabar spinach is very different from what we know as spinach and looks very different, too.
When eaten raw, Malabar spinach has a distinct peppery taste with hints of lemony notes, but when cooked, it develops a noticeable spinach flavor. It is a great vegetable to cook with and can add a pop of green to any dish.
#1. Malabar Spinach Stir Fry
This stir fry really highlights the earthy flavor of this vegetable. The recipe only calls for Malabar spinach, cooking oil, and fresh ginger to create this flavorful side dish. Just cook everything until the Malabar spinach has wilted down to create a pleasing texture. You could add more seasonings to give this dish more character; sesame oil or some garlic would be great options.
#2. Malabar Spinach Curry
This Malabar spinach curry is a flavor-packed dish that has all of the traditional curry flavors with a creamy consistency. Apart from the spices, the recipe also requires adding a bit of jaggery and tamarind to give the curry a lovely tangy and sweet flavor. Serve this mildly spiced, rich, and flavorsome curry with rice for a wholesome meal.
#3. Malabar Spinach Shakshuka
Unlike any other shakshuka recipes which use tomatoes as a base, this recipe features malabar spinach. It has a bright green color and a unique flavor. Jalapeno gives it a kick of spice along with several different spices, all of which could be substituted if need be. All you have to do is cook everything down and make indents for the eggs to go before this dish is ready to serve.
#4. Malabar Spinach Chutney
This bright green chutney has Malabar spinach leaves as its main ingredient. Various seasonings are also added to give it a bright and spicy flavor along with ghee for richness. This chutney can be served as a condiment, for dipping with snacks, or even used to flavor other dishes. It is healthy, tasty, and filled with flavors that compliment the bright freshness of the Malabar spinach.
#5. Malabar Spinach Dal
This traditional dal recipe brings the flavors of Malabar spinach and creates a dish that is both hearty and filled with flavors. Tamarind water adds a bit of bright sourness, while the jaggery along with a tempering of mustard seeds and garlic creates a subtly sweet and savory taste. Despite the number of ingredients called for, this is a simple recipe that is quick to prepare. It goes perfectly with steamed rice or some phulka (Indian flat bread).
#6. Malabar Spinach Fritters
Malabar spinach goes very well in all kinds of recipes, including these fritters that are deep-fried to golden perfection. Chickpea flour and water make up the fritter batter along with a variety of seasonings like cumin, red chilis, pepper, and turmeric. The Malabar spinach leaves are battered and added to a hot pan of frying oil. It only takes a few minutes to complete this crispy side dish or savory afternoon snack.
#7. Malabar Spinach Fish Stir Fry
This Malabar spinach stir fry has a unique twist as it features shredded fish as the protein source for this stir fry. You can use any fish that you prefer, though a light and flaky option would be best.
Cumin, urad dal, red chilies, mustard seeds, and turmeric give this stir fry its flavor and complement the grassiness of the Malabar spinach. This makes an excellent side dish or a light lunch option.
#8. Malabar Spinach and Nectarine Salad
This fresh and light Malabar spinach salad adds nectarines for a sweet component. It also includes crushed almonds for texture and savory taste along with sliced cucumbers. The dressing is a simple blend of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, and honey, as well as salt and pepper. If you wanted to add more sweetness to this salad, you could also throw in some sliced apples or cranberries.
#9. Groundnut Stew with Malabar Spinach
This hearty stew is uniquely delicious and made with groundnuts, tomatoes, Malabar spinach, and chicken. It has a zing of ginger that also adds a touch of heat to the dish along with peanut butter for some creaminess. Okra is also added to give this stew a pop of green and to thicken it up. This stew will require at least an hour to fully cook and allow the flavors to meld together to create a balanced dish.
#10. Simple Malabar Spinach Curry
This simple Malabar spinach curry only includes a handful of ingredients and a little preparation time. All you need is fresh coconut, Malabar spinach, garlic, chilies, and tamarind. The tamarind and coconut create a tangy, creamy base, while the spinach leaves add brightness and a bit of added texture. If you want to, you could add additional seasonings to make this simple curry more complex.
#11. Sweet Potato and Malabar Salad
This salad is light, refreshing, and can make for a perfect side at dinner or even a fast and easy lunch option. The Malabar spinach leaves add freshness and bite to the dish, while the sweet potato helps to make it filling. Raw sliced onions, tamarind sauce, and sunflower seeds add flavor to this salad and pull everything together. You can also add additional veggies to bulk this salad up a bit.