Malabar Spinach

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!

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!

Some girlie fun moments!

How to prep a bunch of Malabar Spinach:

  1. I pluck the leaves out of the stems and gather them in two piles – tender and mature ones.
  2. Spin them in a salad spinner and let them dry on a towel.
  3. While the leaves are drying, give the stems a rinse. Cut them into shorter segments for the ease of it, before rinsing.
  4. Let the stems dry as well.
  5. 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,

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

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, I 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.

Love,

Giri

PS : Below is an e-book with a quick and very useful lesson on how to use spices, click on the image to grab it if you haven’t already.

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Taro Leaves

Hey everyone! If you already saw this video on Youtube, you may skip it.

For others, this is a good starter.

 

The best way to inspire someone to step out of their comfort zone and cook some unfamiliar vegetable, is to get them to taste a dish made from it. Right?

Head over to your nearest Indian Grocer and go to the freezer section. Look for ‘Patra’ and this particular one happens to be my favorite one. (I’ve no affiliation with them, NO money involved for me to reveal here. It’s just my preferred brand, that’s all)

http://www.asianfoodcentre.com/branded-foods/2915-deep-bhagwati-s-patra-.html

It’s visually attractive, tasty, a little on the spicy/savory side. It has wowed my guests time and again!

While Patra is a yummy but elaborate recipe, here is one that comes together in under ten minutes.

Taro leaves Savory Spread:

Ingredients:

Taro leaves – 4 small – medium sized, chopped fine

Onion – 1 small, chopped

Oil – 1/8 tsp

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp

Tamarind paste – 3 tsp

Green Chili -1-2, Thai or Serrano variety depending on your heat preference

Put a pan on medium heat and put the oil in when the pan is ready. gently add the cumin and fenugreek seeds and wait until they release their aromas. At this point have your onions ready to go and throw them in as well. When the onions have browned a little bit add a cup of water and put the chopped greens into the mix. Give it a thorough mix and cover with a lid.

In about 3-4 minutes, greens would have cooked to a soft consistency. Turn off the heat and transfer into a blender and allow it to cool. When it feels safe to run the blender, add the chili, salt to taste and the tamarind paste. Blend to a smooth paste. Taste it and adjust the salt. Put it back in the pan and turn the heat on for just a minute and stir till the flavors meld. Sometimes when I feel indulgent, I add 1/2 tsp of some nut butter at this point.

This spread works fabulously on your Breads, as a side with Rice or Quinoa and sometimes I even stir a spoon of this in my lentil soups. The spread will keep in the refrigerator for five days.

Please note, the recipe is not meant to be a formula to cling to. I’d like you to play around with it add and subtract ingredients to your liking. Whatever you do, remember to cook it thoroughly.

I’d love to hear from you, about what Taro leaves recipe YOU tried in your kitchen. Please let me know in the comments section below.

The new e-book would be a great resource if you are the kind who likes to make healthy taste delicious! Just click on the image below and grab your copy!

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Love,
Giri