Malabar Spinach in the Farmers Market the other day, took me right back to my childhood days. There was a red-purple veined variety of this plant in our yard. I’d smear purple juicy tiny fruits of this vine as my nail and lip color, when no one was looking. Some girlie fun moments!
How to prep a bunch of Malabar Spinach:
- I pluck the leaves out of the stems and gather them in two piles – tender and mature ones.
- Spin them in a salad spinner and let them dry on a towel.
- While the leaves are drying, give the stems a rinse. Cut them into shorter segments for the ease of it, before rinsing.
- Let the stems dry as well.
- Mature leaves and stems are placed separately in air tight boxes and refrigerated. Make sure you use them in the next day or two, latest.
Here’s one way to use them in a recipe:
Tender ones are mildly sweet and we like them in a salad. Often, I throw a handful of these along with Cherry Tomatoes (halved), grilled Sweet Corn, minced Bell Pepper (orange would make for a very colorful salad), a can of black beans – drained, half an avocado – cubed. That’s it! A dash of lemon juice, salt and pepper gets added only if we have some company over and I don’t want to offer them our weirdo food. But if it’s just us (hubster and I), all I do is find a lovely name for it and serve. Don’t ever skimp on this last part! You GOTTA find a beautiful name for your creations. There are many studies done so far about how attractive names for dishes make even veggies hugely welcome with kids. I’d say this is true of us adults as well, don’t you agree? Well, I checked. It happens to be correct! Restaurants take great care to name their items attractively because it is directly tied with customers’ willingness to pay a higher price for it. Last time, I used this salad to top some left over but yummy Rice Peas Pilaf – which was too little in quantity all on its own. I served it as Rainbowl 🙂 It looked so inviting and tasted fabulous! I apologize for not taking a picture of it for you guys.
Mature leaves and stems:
I stack the leaves and cut them into thin strips, stems into reasonably small uniform segments. If you’re short on time, feel free to saute the leaves on the stove top but DO NOT pulse them in the food processor. They turn all goopy and it’ll take you lot longer to get it out and then clean the container.
This pairs very well with 1. Petite Yellow Lentils 2. Split Yellow Lentils. Cook any of these lentils with twice as much water, either directly on the stove top or in a pressure cooker. You definitely want to cook this to a mushy consistency. It only means that you cook it for a little longer. Always add 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of Turmeric and 1/8 teaspoon of oil while cooking. If you are cooking on the stove top, you may add the greens towards the last 5 minutes of bringing it to close. In the pressure cooker however, you can put it along with the lentils and increase the water by a cup, for every three cups of chopped greens.
Finally, temper a teaspoon of Cumin along with 1/4 teaspoon of Asafoetida, using 1/8 teaspoon of oil. And it’s ready to go!
In my house, we don’t have specific breakfast, lunch and dinner foods. Which means, we eat this as breakfast soup. With a little rice, it becomes lunch as well. I told you, am lazy 🙂 I promise to take a picture of this very soon and share it with y’all. Oh, this is rightly called Malabar Medley, as it weaves its way into so many meals.
Do tell me what you named it in your kitchen.
PS : Below is an e-book with a quick and very useful lesson on how to use spices, grab it if you haven’t already.