“This lovely dish has been inspired by a vegetarian spinach and paneer kebab I tried years ago and loved but never got around to making. It is probably better suited to a main course as it has a couple of stages so has morphed in my kitchen to use ricotta instead of paneer and it is baked instead of being fried. It is a lovely dish for when you want a vegetarian meal and have friends coming around. I serve it with my roasted red pepper, tomato and chilli chutney which is hot and garlicky making it the perfect contrast to the creaminess of the dish. If you are in a hurry and can’t make the chutney, serve the baked ricotta with a tangy, seasoned tomato salad.” Anjum Anand, Anjum's Australian Spice Stories
- 60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium-large onion, finely chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 300 g baby spinach, well washed
- ¾ tsp ground cumin
- ¾ tsp garam masala
- 3 tsp chaat masala, or to taste
- 500 g ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 20 g (⅓ cup) fresh breadcrumbs
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- roasted red pepper, tomato and chilli chutney, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
For the baked ricotta, preheat the oven to 180˚C. Place a baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven. Lightly grease a 20 cm square or round cake tin with removeable base and line the base with baking paper.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large non-stick frying pan over low-medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and lightly golden. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute, then add the spinach and a splash of water, season to taste and cook until the spinach has wilted and the water has evaporated. Remove from the heat and stir in the spices.
Place the ricotta into a large bowl, add the hot spinach mixture and stir to combine well. Add eggs and adjust the seasoning, adding a good grind of black pepper. Pour the mixture into the tin and smooth the top. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs, then drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil and bake for 35 minutes or until golden and set. Serve warm or at room temperate with roasted red pepper, tomato and chilli chutney.
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