This recipe is based off of one that my mom learned from our first hosts in American, way back in 1989 (listen up kiddos, fireside chat time). Of course, that one included all the usual spices found in Bengali curries (cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder). It was the perfect hybrid between American pantry basics and desi cooking. Props to Majumder Aunty for coming up with it! It’s great for so many reasons. Surprisingly flavorful for a straight-out-of-the-pantry dish. Really low budget. And quick. Frozen spinach is just such an all around winner. Always keep some in your freezer. So much easier to prepare than to rinse, cut, and cook fresh spinach, only for it to wilt down to nothing. And as per the tuna, I like the italian tuna packed in olive oil. So much more flavorful than the watered down chicken of the sea we used to have growing up. It’s amazing how much flavor tuna can impart on a dish when it’s not drowning in mayo and hiding in between slices of bread. I like to swap out the medley of spices for some freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest. “Brightens up the flavor” as Giada would say. And because I made it kid friendly, I dialed back on the amount of chili flakes. My mom tosses in whole green chilis, but I rarely have those on hand. I did keep the coriander in there because I think it complements the lemon. But if you’re truly making something from the pantry, this dish would still taste great with just the garlic, salt and pepper. You can serve this with rice and daal. It would also be great on some crusty bread with a little bit of grated cheese (gruyere, fontina), pressed and served as a panini. It’s super versatile. Hope you try it out soon!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 16 oz package of frozen spinach
- 1 7oz can of tuna
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- a pinch of red pepper flakes
- zest from 1 lemon
- a light squeeze of lemon (I despise too much acidity in my food, but if you don’t, then by all means, go to town on that thing!)
- Dice onion. Heat up oil over medium high heat in a woke or large fry pan.
- Add onions to oil. While onions cook, mince garlic. Add to pan.
- Add frozen spinach, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add tuna, including the oil it was packed it.
- Season with coriander, salt, chili flakes. Stir over medium high heat until spinach and tuna are fully heated through and flavors combine (4 to 5 minutes).
- Off the heat, add lemon zest, juice, and extra chili flakes, if desired.