Monday, November 21, 2011

Collard Greens with Mung Beans

My world view of the greens was limited to Spinach, Fenugreek and Mustard leaves (sarson) and may be a couple of others. All of which I happen to love. The greens here in the grocery store always caught my eye and beckoned to me but I was always reluctant or hesitant as to what will I make with them? This time the collard greens looked so fresh that I just couldn't stop myself from reaching out and plonking them in my shopping cart much to the consternation of my hubby whose mute question was "What in the world are you going to do with that?" I ignored it and brought these home. Next began a war for space in my usually packed refrigerator. The bunch of collard greens was occupying a third of my veggie drawer and after a couple of days of jostling for space with other veggies, my husband finally asked me "What are you going to make with that broom?" Broom did I just hear you say broom to such beautiful greens, well it is blasphemy and so went the war of words. Finally I got to thinking of what I would make with these, the internet search was not too helpful as most of these were relegating the greens to a secondary side dish whereas wanted them to be a star. Finally I decided to try and use collard greens instead of spinach in the traditional manner in which our very famous Sindhi Sai Bhaji is made. Well this seemed like a win-win since hubby likes Sai Bhaji ok not just likes "loves". Trust me this turned out to be so beautiful. The only thing I changed from the traditional recipe was instead of chana dal (split chickpeas) I used mung dal since it is quicker cooking. For more on lentils see Food Subs. Do not be daunted by the list of ingredients, this dish has just a unique flavor and surprisingly with not as many spices as one expects from an Indian main course dish.

1 Bunch Collard Greens *It actually had 4 separate bunches so it was really a big one
1/4 Cup Yellow Mung Dal
1 Small Potato peeled and cubed
1 Small Onion peeled and diced small
1/2 Zucchini or any other squash, cubed same size as potatoes
1 Carrot peeled and cubed
4 Medium Tomatoes small diced
1 - 2" piece Ginger Root chopped fine
6-7 Thai Green Chillies * Adjust heat according to your own taste buds
a pinch of Asafoetida
1/2 tsp Turmeric
Salt to taste
2-3 Tbsp Kasuri Methi Dried or a handful if using fresh leaves
1 Tbsp Oil
1. Wash and soak mung dal in water for 15-20 minutes till you finish all the prep work. Wash and chop the collard greens.
2. In a pressure cooker, add a tablespoon of oil let it heat then add the ginger, green chillies and asafoetida. Stir for 30 seconds, then add the onions, potato, squash and carrot. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
3. Now add half of the collard greens, then add the mung dal follow with the rest of the collard greens.
4. Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric and kasuri methi do NOT mix.
5. Close the pressure cooker and cook for 2-3 whistles.
6. Switch of the gas and allow to cool completely before opening the pressure cooker. If you are in a hurry you can use the cold water treatment but be very careful.
7. After you open the pressure cooker, take a whisk or a handheld immersion blender and mash the veges. At this point it is very very easy to mash them. Add salt and switch on the heat and reheat till it starts bubbling.
8. Enjoy with soft warm rotis or with Garlic Rice or Plain Rice.

1. You can use Chana Dal instead of Mung Dal. It requires a longer soaking time than the mung dal
2. You can also use a small bunch of dill leaves, it takes the taste to the next level
3. Some people also enjoy adding a tempering of almost browned garlic on top of the cooked greens.

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