Growing up in India, I was familiar with few different types of greens, keerai as we call it in . Right after dawn, our Keera Kaara Amma (translates to ‘old lady selling greens’) used to bring variety of greens, harvested few hours earlier, to our doorsteps everyday. Other than the occasional drumstick leaves, spinach, (, for their power to boost our memory retention), my mom mostly cooked only amaranth or mola keerai. Nothing to complain about; those tender leaves and succulent stems were a favourite of mine. I am not exaggerating if I say that I solely grew up knowing only amaranth, as a leafy vegetable.
After coming to the US, I found it very difficult getting to know new greens. Salad greens were totally off limits (who ate salad greens in India? at least I didn’t), spinach did not taste the same and amaranth was nowhere to be found. Unlike vegetables, identifying a green, even if its already familiar, is very confusing to identify, if labeled under a different name. Apparently .
Living many months without greens, I timidly put a step forward to try foreign leaves. Swiss chard was to be my first try. Boy, am I glad I did. Chards (Swiss, green, rainbow) gracefully embraced me from my fear of foreign greens, and afterward, there was no looking back. I have tried almost all greens in the market shelves. And I find the best way to try anything foreign, is to prepare it the local way, something you can relate to. And that for me, is Indian style. And that is what this series is about. Allow me to share a few of my favourite Western greens, prepared the Indian way, in this .Mashed Greens – Swiss Chard
As I told you earlier, my mom bought amaranth quite frequently. But there is no complex spice mixture or procedure to cook ‘em. Cook, mash and season, that’s all. This recipe, as with many of the Indian recipes, believes in the flavour of the greens themselves, rather than relying on spice mixtures. So try using the freshest of greens. Since amaranth is not available in my area, I now make this with Swiss chard. Chards are mild, sweet and earthy that suits well with this recipe.IngredientsSwiss chard – 1 bunch, cleaned and chopped
Green chilli – 1, split
Tomato – 1, small, chopped (optional)
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
Red chilli – 1
Asafoetida – a pinch
Curry leaves – few
Oil – 1 tsp
Cook chard, green chilli, tomato (if using) in ¼ cup of water. Sprinkle more water if necessary. Chard turns translucent once cooked. Take a stick blender and blend till the greens are coarsely ground. You can also do this in a regular blender after cooling down the greens a bit.
Return the vessel back to heat on low and add asafoetida and salt. In a seasoning pan, heat oil, splutter mustard seeds, then add cumin seeds and curry leaves. Heat through, check for seasoning and serve with rice and sambar.
Mashed Swiss chard served with tomato sambar and radish salad.This is my entry to Weekend Herb Blogging, brainchild, hosted by Vani of this week.