The Colour Purple

Purple Kale

I asked What Could That Be? And, most of you answered it correctly. Its purple kale. For those who are not familiar with kale, it belongs to the same family as the green kale. The difference is, green kale grows as stalks, while the purple variety grow as heads, hence the name ‘flowering kale’. Some species of purple kale are also used as for ornamental purposes, but may not be edible. While I was editing the photo, it looked more like a coral than a green. Guess it was just me, because so many of you guessed it right. But now, if I squint my eyes, it looks like Tina Turner’s wig, Bee ;).

Purple kale is not regularly available in our neighborhood stores. When I found it in the local market, I jumped with joy. As usual, I had no idea what this would taste like. But the colour purple was too enticing. But I was in for a surprise, whilst I cooked it. Green kale is very tough, chewy and doesn’t have a signature aroma. If not cooked properly, it tastes more like an old shoe. On the other hand, purple kale was very aromatic and tender. Even while I was sautéing, I started munching from the pan, which I normally don’t do with green kale until it is thoroughly cooked.

I decided to pair this aromatic green with equally fragrant Basmati rice. The purple from the kale stained the rice, giving the pulao a mellow mauve color. I kept the spices to a minimum, letting kale take all the attention. I sautéed the whole head, used half in pulao and made enchiladas with the other. In both the dishes, I was thoroughly impressed with purple kale. If you get a chance to lay hand on this beauty, don’t miss.

Purple Kale Pulao

Purple Kale Pulao

Basmati rice – 1 cup
Purple kale – ½ head
Red onion – 1, sliced
Frozen green peas – ½ cup,
Potato – 1, cubed
Grated coconut – 2 tbsp
Ginger – 1 inch, minced
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
Green chilli – 2, slit
Red pepper flakes – 1 tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp


Oil – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Fennel seeds – ½ tsp
Cinnamon – 1 inch
Cloves – 2
Cardamom – 2
Bay leaf – 1
Star Anise – 1


Cook basmati rice with 1 to 1¼ cup of water. Fluff and cool till the grains are separate. Heat a tbsp of oil and sauté kale till its soft. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, heat another tbsp of oil and add spices for tempering given in the above said order. When the spices get slightly toasty, add onion, garlic, ginger, green chillies and potato. Sauté until onions and potatoes are soft. Now add the kale back, along with red pepper flakes, green peas, coconut and salt. Mix well and add rice. Gently mix the pulao and heat through. Check for seasoning and garnish with cilantro. Serve with raita of your choice.


Talking about the colour purple, I also came across these beauties in our local market - Purple Turnips. The woman next to me said ‘They look like giant radishes’. I smiled to myself. Well, they do belong to the same family.

Turnip Sauté

Turnips, known as ‘Nool Kol’ in Tamil and ‘Shalgam’ in Hindi, is well-known for its bitterness. I would say its texture is like that of a firm, but bitter white pumpkin. To overcome its bitterness, I boil it once in water, drain and boil again. But it still retains its bitterness to a certain extent. So, now-a-days, I cook turnip in tamarind water, drain and use it in any recipe. This way, it never tastes bitter.

This is how I served these purple beauties. I boiled the peeled, cubed turnip pieces in tamarind water; drained and sautéed them with salt and sambar powder; finished with a tbsp of grated coconut. We loved it.

Turnip Saute

I know any purple lover, including me, cannot help, but fall for both these purple beauties. Nature has a unique of expressing herself.


Sig said...

Finally I got one right... :)

Turnips and Kale... wow, what a coincidence I just combined the two the other day, not purple though... I have to look out for the purple ones now... :)

amna said...

oh wow. i dont even know what kale is.. havent cooked with it.. turnips i avoide cuz of bitterness.. but putting in tamarind water sounds like a plan..

lovely pics :)

Srivalli said...

Good..the picture looks great...and nice dish too...purple looks beautiful

Unknown said...

Oh I got it wrong - but then I haven't eaten regular kale either, so guessing that this was purple kale was out of does look so pleasing to the eye and it's nice that the colour in maintained in the rice too! We get turnips which are cream but tinted purple - I generally use it in sambhar, but yours is a nice idea of stir frying them!
Lovely lovely stuff and such a treat to the eyes :)

sunita said...

Sug, both the dishes look awesome...but I've never tried kale,you to look out for it.

Susan said...

As a veteran gardener, I know my kale, but I have never eaten the purple variety. Really fun posts, Suganya, w/ knockout photos. Thanks for the mention. : )

BitterSweet said...

Huh, I've never heard of purple kale, but it sure is lovely!

FH said...

Aha!! Kale in purple! Cool looking and very healthy. Great dishes too!
We do get colorful veggies in Spring, got to take some photos if they will let me!:)

bee said...

purple is one of my three favourite colours. gorgeous looking rice.

Anonymous said...

Your picture of the kale looks very good. But I have to admit, Ive never been a big fan of purple veggies - the only one I've tried is the purple cabbage. I guess I am more of a green person.

Trupti said...

photo looks nice... I never tried kale in pulao ..should try this now.

Finla said...

What ever it is the dish looks yummy and me the idiot was sayinh it was brocoli :-)))

Sia said...

such a lovely colour... and yes, i have never come across purple kale and purple turnip.

Shilpa said...

Such a beautiful color Suganya. I haven't seen the purple kale here yet. Will look for it.

musical said...

Love both these vegetables :). Love the idea of using Kale in a pulaav. Never seen purple turnips here. I'll look out for them in the Farmer's market. One point though, knol-khols is not turnips, its gaanth-gobhi/kohlrabi.

Mansi said...

I've never tried kale at all!!! But I'm so inspired by the deep purple in your posts I need to find them soon!:) I loved the turnip idea:)

Pooja V said...

wooohooo!! I was correct. I havent tasted this but a beauty to fall for coz of its looks. I will definitely try this. Turnips ..i feel are a little bitter for my taste buds.

Siri said...

Love the color purple ... and both the dishes look lovely Suganya~


Anonymous said...

Beautiful pics and a great recipe!!! Never thought of the combination....kale and turnip. Pretty creative :)

TheCooker said...

Both dishes look so very appetising.

Nanditha Prabhu said...

never tried this combination before...i am in love with purple too:)awesome photos:)

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

I simply love this colour..amazing picture and interesting description of the dish. Though not available in this part of the world, will try to find out more about kale's availbility.

sandhya said...

nice dishes and pic's.... love the purple colour...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for coloring us purple! Kale is something we have always grown, but mainly used for garnish. We'll uproot some and try your dish!

Anonymous said...

We love purple at home to Sugs! Those are innovative dishes.. thanks to u- I'm inspired to try new veggies too... I love the look of that turnip sabji..

Coffee said...

DANG!! And I was thinking it would be the fungus, which looks exactly like this! That rice has picked up a beautiful color.

Lisa Turner said...

Wow, I don't think I have ever seen purple kale or turnips before, but I will surely keep my eye out for them. I'm a big fan of purple and enjoy beets and red cabbage fairly regularly. What a delicious sounding meal! And, lovely pictures.

Raaga said...

I thought nool khol was kohlrabi and not turnip... turnip is called shalgam here... I've not checked what kohlrabi is called... have never bought it :-)

nice recipes... I have 4 turnips sitting in the fridge :-)

Johanna GGG said...

That meal looks amazing - I couldn't resist a purple vegetable but have never seen this kale before - or the turnips either

Mark by Chocolate said...

Ah, this has to be kismet! I clicked on your blog and it's purple week. ;-)

Jeanne said...

Purple kale?!? Now there's something I've never heard of and I'm now wildly jealous because it's gorgeous, and I love green kale. The colour on those turnips is spectacular too.

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog for quite some time,your pictures are amazing,I tried this vibrant looking rice,it was a hit.Thanks for the recipe.

Unknown said...

Hi Suganya,

Stumbled upon your blog by chance and boy, am I glad or what! :) Gonna try all the recipes esp. under the tamil food section... Btw, won't we lose all the nutrients on boiling the 'Knol-Kohl' and draining it. My mom always made koottu with it(the pale green variety, no exp. with the purple one though), cooked it in the cooker with soem onion adn tomato, turmeric and some sambar podi and finally with ground coconut, jeeragam paste.


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