Krishna Jayanthi or Janmashtami arrives bang in the middle of the monsoons in India (atleast in the North and the West) and reminds us of the story of Krishna's birth. "It was a dark and stormy night..." seems particularly apt here! I still remember the classic Amar Chitra Katha illustrations (sorry, no fond memories of Grandma recounting the story to us!) which showed Vasudeva crossing the river in spate to make sure his newborn baby had a chance to survive.
I found that while in the South, the festival celebrated the evening before, in the North it is celebrated the next evening - I decided to go the North Indian way, simply because it was more convenient since it was a Sunday. The small footprints leading from outside to the pooja room fascinated my daughter and she did her own spot of painting while I drew the kolam outside. After a heavy breakfast of vadai, semiya payasam, pongal, chatni and sambar there was no way we could have a full meal for lunch.
So we decided on soup and a light salad. Husband was happy to have a spinach soup while I preferred a tomato carrot soup - recipe to come next.
The spinach soup is a very simple one - takes about fifteen minutes to make - the cleaning of the spinach probably takes more time than the actual preparation. But if you have spinach already separated from the stalks (I store them in Tupperware or other airtight containers) it makes it much easier.
3 bundles of spinach - separated from the stalks, cleaned in several changes of water and chopped
1 medium onion chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
1 tsp butter
1/2 green chilli
Freshly crushed pepper powder
2 tbsp cream
1. Heat the butter in a heavy bottomed pan, add the bay leaf and then the garlic and onions. Saute till onions are transluscent.
2. Add the green chilli and the chopped spinach and cook for 4-5 minutes till the spinach wilts and is just cooked.
3. Remove from the pan and cool. Discard the bay lead and puree in a blender.
4. Return the pureed spinach to the pan, add water or vegetable stock and bring to boil.
5. Add salt, reduce flame and cook for about 4 minutes.
6. Add crushed pepper and one tablespoon of cream and remove from heat.
7. Serve warm with cream drizzled over.