Garden fresh – warm salad of rhubarb chard and black eyed beans

This is the first time I have grown rhubarb chard in our garden and Shiv and I were pleasantly surprised at how beautiful it tasted.  It tasted similar to Amaranth, a red spinach like leaf that is considered a super food and is grown and eaten widely in India.  After the first time we cooked it, Shiv and I decided that we had a winner and rhubarb chard is going to be a regular yearly feature in our veggie patch. The recipe we used is normally made with amaranth and jackfruit seeds.  We adapted this and swapped the amaranth and jackfruit seeds with rhubarb chard and black eyed beans.  The dish was delicious and I would like to share the recipe with you.

Rhubarb chard  Rhubarb chard and black eyed beans

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 bunch of rhubarb chard leaves washed and finely chopped
  • 1 cup of black eyed beans pre soaked and pressure cooked till soft yet firm
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsps coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp split urad dhal
  • 1/2 tsp channa dhal
  • 3-4 dried red chillies broken to pieces (can be reduced or increased to suit tastes)
  • 4 tbsps freshly grated coconut
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Heat coconut oil in a skillet or wok.  Add the mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds splutter add the urad dhal, channa dhal and broken pieces of dried red chilli.  Fry for a minute or so till the dhals are golden brown and then add the chopped rhubarb chard and the turmeric powder.  The rhubarb chard should cook in its own moisture.  When the chard is cooked, season with salt, garnish with freshly grated coconut and remove from heat.  Serve hot  as a side with rice or roti of choice.

Salad therapy – punchy parsnip salad

Shiv and  I have come to love parsnips and are fond of parsnip soup, Parmesan crusted parsnips, parsnip chips and crisps. We found yet another way of enjoying parsnips by making this tasty salad.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 4-5 parsnips peeled, washed and grated in a food processor
  • 2-3 green chillies slit lengthwise
  • 1 shallot thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
  • Few curry leaves
  • A handful of peanuts
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp split urad dhal
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Peel, wash and  finely grate the parsnips.  Mix with salt and set aside.  Heat ghee in a skillet.  Add a pinch of asafoetida to flavour the ghee.  Add the mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds splutter, add the urad dhal, peanuts, finely chopped shallot, garlic, curry leaves and green chillies.  Fry till the peanuts are crisp and the garlic and shallot slices are golden brown and crisp.  Put this on top of the grated parsnips.  Mix well.  Add the lime juice and voila you have a punchy parsnip treat.

Gluten free upma

Upma is a simple traditional South Indian breakfast and tiffin dish which is normally made of coarse or fine semolina.  Since getting on the Paleo journey Anna and I have abstained from eating upma as its made from a  wheat derivative.   On one of our recent shopping trips to an Asian grocery store Anna spotted some cassava powder (gari) which resembled broken wheat in texture and picked it up.  Last night was a voyage of discovery and we think we have found a suitable alternative to semolina and cannot wait to make some of our traditional breakfast fare and sweet dishes that we have avoided off late.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 1/2 cups of cassava powder – dry roasted in a pan till light brown
  • 2 mushrooms finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick finely chopped
  • 8 Indian button onions sliced
  • 2 sprigs of spring onion chopped
  • 3 green chillies finely chopped (de-seed if you want to make it less spicy)
  • 1 small yellow courgette finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh coriander finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1″ piece of ginger minced
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • Few curry leaves
  • Pinch of asaefotida
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp split urad dahl
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Few curry leaves
  • 3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2

How do I make it?

Heat pan and add 2 tbsp of ghee before adding the mustard seeds.  Once the seeds start crackling add the urad dahl and stir till they turn golden brown.  Add the curry leaves, ginger and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.  Then add each of the vegetables in sequence giving each a couple of minutes to cook before adding the next (first the onions and celery, then the carrot and courgette followed by the mushrooms and finished off with the spring onions and chopped coriander.  Next add the turmeric powder, garam masala and salt and mix for a couple of minutes.   Add 250 ml of water and bring to a boil and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.   Finally add the roasted cassava powder to the pan while mixing it vigorously to avoid clumps forming.  Cook for 5 minutes while constantly stirring and then remove off heat.  Serve hot with a fresh coconut chutney.

 

Two for the price of one

The advantage of growing our own vegetables is that we get to use a wide variety of leaves either in our salads or in our daily meals.   Today I cut a whole bunch of radish leaves to make a family favourite.  I’ve always loved sauteed radish leaves as a child and have introduced Shiv to this tasty dish after we started growing our own vegetables and he has developed a fondness for it too.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 bunch of radish leaves
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 green chilies
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp split pigeon peas (channa dahl)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • A few curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4-6 as a side dish

How do I make it?

Wash and chop the radish leaves finely.  Make a coarse paste with the onion, chilies and garlic.  Heat pan and add coconut oil, once hot add the mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds start to splutter add the pigeon peas and curry leaves and stir till the peas change colour.  Add the paste and saute till the raw smell disappears.  Add the finely chopped radish leaves and season with salt.  Saute for a minute or two and then add turmeric powder and about half a cup of water.   Continue cooking till the water evaporates and then garnish with freshly grated coconut before turning off the heat.

The same recipe can be used for french bean leaves, pumpkin leaves and tender cabbage leaves.

 

Quince Chutney

We came across some lovely quince the other day while shopping in Hayes.  They looked like big golden pears and smelt delicious.  The fragrance was like a cross between the scent of an apple and pear.  We have never eaten quince before,   just heard of quince jelly served as an accompaniment to many meats.  An online search revealed that quince had to be cooked and could not be eaten raw as it would be too sour.  So I decided to make a spicy quince chutney (‘thokku’ in Tamil).

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 cups finely grated quince
  • 2 tbsp unrefined sugar
  • 2 tbsp untoasted sesame oil (get them at Asian grocers)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (roasted and powdered)
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida powder
  • 2 tsp dried curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

250 ml – just enough to fill a jam jar.  The chutney keeps well in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.

How do I make it?

Boil the grated quince with about 300 ml of water, salt and the sugar.   Let the quince cook so that the water reduces down completely.  Heat the oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds splutter add the dried curry leaves and turn off the heat.  Add the turmeric powder and chilli powder at this stage (residual heat in the oil should be enough to cook the spices).  Add the boiled quince and mix well.  Add the roasted fenugreek powder and asafoetida to the mixture.  Check the seasoning before adding the apple cider vinegar.  Mix well,  cool the mixture before transferring into jar and refrigerating.

We are going to try Bramley apples next as an interesting alternative (seeing we tend to get apples all year!)