Saturday, December 21, 2013

Lower Fat Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Today I'm baking 2 loaves of San Francisco Sourdough Bread (recipe from and tomorrow I will make a double batch of spinach pachadi.  Pachadi is an Indian dish that features any vegetable cooked with onions and a chile pepper, then mixed with yogurt and a spice mixture.  It's very tasty and when made with spinach always reminds me of the tasty spinach and artichoke dip that you can make and place in a hollowed out bread 'bowl'.

The only problem I have with the classic version of this dish is it has LOTS of fat in it, given that it uses sour cream AND cream cheese.  Pachadi uses some oil but also yogurt as the dairy which even at full fat strength is less fat than the classic. 

Here's the recipe -

Spinach in Yogurt Sauce (Spinach Pachadi)

Makes 6 servings (as part of a large meal)

Pachadis are lightly cooked South Indian salads, often involving yogurt. This was my grandmother’s recipe, and it remains a feature of my core repertoire because it’s so simple and unusual at the same time. This recipe is part of our menu for Sadhya, a South Indian feast.

Published in Gourmet Live 01.18.12


  • 3 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 pound spinach, coarse stems discarded and leaves finely chopped
  • 1 small fresh green chile, such as serrano, Thai, or jalapeƱo, slit lengthwise with stem end intact
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Salt
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (not Greek-style)
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 10 fresh curry leaves (optional)


  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Add spinach, chile, 2 tablespoons water, and 3/4 teaspoon salt and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt.
  • Heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a small heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then cook mustard seeds until they begin to pop and/or turn gray, then add cumin seeds and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until cumin seeds brown, about 30 seconds more. Add curry leaves (if using), covering skillet immediately for a few seconds, then stir spice mixture into spinach mixture. Season with salt. Serve warm.


  • Indian ingredients can be mail-ordered from
  • Chile can be removed during cooking when the dish is spicy enough for your taste.
  • Spinach-yogurt mixture, without spiced oil, can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Reheat before proceeding with recipe.


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