There are some recipes that just defy words – this is one of them! The first time I made it, my husband and I polished off the whole batch in a matter of minutes and sat there gob-smacked, staring at each other. “What was that?” he stammered…”You have to make that again…” And so I did, many times. This recipe is very exotic and such a surprise to the palate. The flavours are bright, delicate, tangy, and sweet, with a satisfying crunch from the single peanut in the bundle. The recipe makes an extraordinary and much talked about addition to any party table. It originates in Thailand, known as Miang Kum. I found the recipe a number of years ago in Mollie Katzen’s classic vegetarian cookbook, Still Life with Menu. You could always kick it up a bit by adding a bit of chili to the chutney. (However, I like it without). The chutney and other ingredients will keep for days in the fridge, so you can make it in advance of your event with no sweat!
½ pound fresh spinach leaves (the most undamaged you can find)
¼ cup red onion, cut into small dice
½ lime, cut into ¼ inch pieces, including the rind
1 small piece fresh ginger cut into small dice
4 tablespoons shredded, unsweetened coconut
4 tablespoons whole roasted peanuts
For Peanut-Lime Chutney
1 small lime, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
½ cup red onion, chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup roasted peanuts
¼ cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
Wash and de-stem the spinach leaves. Spin dry and wrap tightly in paper towel. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Prepare the red onion, lime, ginger, coconut and peanuts and place in individual small bowls. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.
For chutney, place all ingredients into food processor and process to an imperfectly smooth consistency. Place in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until serving time.
At serving time, arrange spinach leaves on a large platter and organize the bowls of remaining ingredients around the spinach.
To eat, simply place a small amount of chutney in the middle of a spinach leaf. Top with one piece of onion, lime, ginger, and one peanut. Sprinkle with a bit of coconut. Roll it up, tucking in the sides and pop it in your mouth all at once. Sigh with delight!