Tangled Branches: Satiated
riveting tales of how we sustain ourselves
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Potatoes, Kale, and Chard
The kale in the garden is sweet and delicious after our recent cold weather, so I picked a batch on Sunday afternoon and cooked it Tuesday evening. Indian recipes are the default method for cooking vegetables here, but I don't see too many (any?) published recipes for kale in Indian cookbooks. But I reasoned that the flavor could stand in for any cabbage-y type thing in a basic recipe for sauteed mixed vegetables, so I created the following based on Gobi-Aloo-Saag (Cauliflower-Potato-Spinach) from Quick Vegetarian Curries by Mridula Baljekar. Quick is a relative term - most Americans wouldn't think of these dishes as quick. And there's more than just curries here - a quick glance through and I find Pakoras, Rice, Bread, Raitas, and Desserts. Anyhow, here's what I made:
Boil 1 lb. potatoes; drain, peel and chop into approx 3/4 inch cubes.
Remove and discard large midribs from 6 to 8 oz. kale (I left the small ones in), and chop the leaves coarsely (about 1 to 2 inch pieces).
Remove leaf stalks/midribs from about 8 medium-large leaves of chard. Slice the stems thinly crosswise and chop the leaves coarsely.
Slice vertically one medium onion. Mince 3 cloves of garlic.
Heat 3 tablespoons peanut oil in a large deep saute pan. Add 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add 2 dried red chiles and 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric. Stir once and add sliced onions. When the onion begins to brown, add 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground red chile (or to taste), and minced garlic.
Stir a few times, and add kale, chard and chard stems. You may have to do this in stages because all the leaves may not fit in the pan before they're wilted. Once you have all the kale and chard in the pan, and they've wilted down a bit, add about 1/2 cup canned chopped tomatoes, the potatoes, about 1/2 teaspoon salt, and about 1/2 cup water. Cover and simmer until kale is cooked through.
Now, the original recipe called for 5 fluid ounces of single cream to be added at this point. I didn't have any (half and half, or table cream), but did have some Mexican crema in the fridge. So I added a few spoonsful of crema, thinned with water to a flowing consistency. Add 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (I used Penzey's Punjabi Masala), and just about a teaspoon of butter. Stir and cook until the cream/crema is heated through and the butter is melted. Taste for salt. The original recipe called for 1 teaspoon salt, but I usually start with half the amount and add more at the end if the dish tastes flat. (Also, the crema was quite salty.)
That's it. This amount was enough to serve 2 people as a main dish with ample leftovers.