Indian-Style greens

I love my greens. Living in the northwest I better. Luckily our cooler climate creates the best greens around. Both for salad greens and for braising. Two of my favorite braising greens is the aptly named Dinosaur kale, or Lacinato kale, named so for its crinkly long straight leaves and Rainbow chard, with its brightly colored stems and delicious leaves.

Both of these greens get sweeter in the cold and are well suited for being quickly blanched and eaten tender and salad-like and  the long slow braise that makes them velvety and soft, releasing their hidden potential. In this week’s box I had substituted my apples out for more greens, but now realize that I have spinach, Rainbow chard and Lacinato kale all coming in the same box, plus some left over collards in the fridge.

This calls for a braised greens throw down. I had already planned on making some simple dhal, an Indian bean dish that is delicious and spicy and full of great exotic flavors. So this greens dish will compliment that perfectly. A little home made naan and I’ve got a meal. If I had the foresight to make some fresh yogurt I’d be in business – for those of you wondering how to make your own yogurt check out GoodFoodHealth’s blog post next Monday on this probiotic miracle.

One of the best things about braising greens is the time, this dish takes barely 30 minutes from start to finish. Unlike the dhal which needs to cook for about 90 minutes. That means this is a quick dish that can be easily paired with basmati rice, naan or just thick flour tortillas.

Remember, although I used a mixture of Rainbow, Lacinato and spinach, you can easily use any other green to make this dish – broccoli raab, mustard greens, mizuna or arugula will all work.

1 1/4 pound greens, kale and chard
1/2 pound spinach, cleaned
2 T cornmeal
4 garlic cloves
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
2 T ginger, grated
1 red onion, minced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 t cumin seeds, crushed
1/2 t coriander seeds, crushed
Salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add greens and wilt for 1 to 2 minutes. Lightly wilt spinach, then drain all greens. Transfer to a food processor, or finely chop until a rough puree. Sprinkle cornmeal over puree and mix to combine. Transfer greens to a bowl.

Finely mince, or puree in food processor, garlic, jalapenos and ginger. Add onions and pulse until finely chopped and mixed. In a large pan, heat oil over medium-high, until just about smoking. Add cumin and coriander, let saute briefly for 30 seconds then add onion mixture and saute until soft, about 5-7 minutes.

Add pureed greens and cook for 4 minutes, letting the two flavors infuse, stirring occasionally. Add 1/4 cup of water if greens look too dry. At this point you can eat them, they might have a little tender crunch and the spinach will be soft, but I like to cook mine on low for another ten minutes so they are very soft. They will lose a little of their color, becoming a soft darker green and not as bright, but the flavor and texture is smooth and well blended. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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