Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Going green - Swiss chard stir fry & Peas chapathi

Dear Foodies,

I am not sure when this happened, but from a stereotypical 'greens' hating kid, I became a person who loves having a leafy vegetable as part of my meal. As a kid I gave my mother a tough time finishing up the keerai dish. I don't think I even bothered to savor the taste, if it was green, I had to hate it, simple :D But that never effected the frequency or variety of greens that my mom used. We had a keerai lady who would come by nearly every other morning, selling fresh greens. She would have this huge round basket on her head, filled with a minimum of 6-7 varieties of greens and one of us would have to help her lower it down. If she had a rarely found variety, she was sure to market it the right way and leave us with more greens than we needed. Apart from the usual suspects - coriander, mint and spinach, she would have a variety of thotakura (amaranth), menthi kura, ponnaganti keera (water amaranth) and many others that I've forgotten! When it was exam time she was a lot more tough on us & there was no escaping her. But having someone come to your doorstep and sell you fresh greens on a daily basis is a luxury now.

Spinach is what I use the most, and because it was the only familiar one in the grocery store aisles here. But gradually I started trying out the other ones on the shelf. Cooking the new greens in a familiar Indian recipe is the safest way to introduce it. Collard greens & Kale take a little longer to cook, but can be used in simple stir fry's and substituted for other greens in most recipes. I add greens to soups, upmas, rice, dals, sambar, majjiga pulusu and even puffs. Mustard greens have a slightly stronger taste, and are a nice change from the usual. Swiss chard, with its choice of colors is fun to use and cooks in a jiffy.

So how about some green therapy for St. Patricks day ? Here's Swiss chard kura and green peas chapathi
Swiss chard kura/stir fry
(serves two as a side)
Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch - Swiss chard, washed
  • 1/4 tsp - Mustard seeds/aavaalu
  • 1/4 tsp - Cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1/4 tsp - Turmeric powder
  • pinch of Asafoetida
  • 3 nos - Green chillies (each chilli was hardly an inch long)
  • 2 Tbsp - grated Coconut
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp - Oil ( I used olive oil)

Method:
  1. Wash the Swiss chard thoroughly and remove to thick rib running through the center of each leaf. The thinner portions closer to the tip of the leaf can be retained. Roll up the leaves and roughly slice them into strips.
  2. Heat oil in a wok/wide skillet. When hot, splutter the mustard and cumin seeds. Add the turmeric, asafoetida and the chopped greens. Cover with a lid and cook and medium-low heat for 5-7 mins.
  3. In the meantime, finely mince the green chillies, and thaw the grated coconut if using frozen. When greens looks wilted, add the chillies and coconut and cook for a few more minutes allowing the flavors to meld.
  4. Finally season with salt and serve warm with chapathi's or rice.

For the peas paratha, I microwaved about half a cup of frozen green peas with a finely minced green chilli and salt for 2 mins. Cover and let it sit for a few more minutes. Mash it up with a fork and add 2 Tbsp of low-fat sour cream when cooled. You could also make a fine paste by using a blender, I was just too lazy. I added this to 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat atta, with a little more salt and 1/4 cup warm water. Knead it well until an impression of a finger pressed into the dough, holds for a second and slowly bounces back. Let the dough rest for about 30 mins before making the chapatis. This dough was softer than my usual dough and so were the chapathi's. I got about 10 chapathi's from this.
Simple ingredients => flavorful dishes, proved yet again. The delicate flavor of the chard isn't lost in the cooking process and is only complimented by the coconut. I ate half the stir fry right from the pan, it was that good. My usual spinach stir fry has red chillies and garlic in the tadka/poppu. They have a strong flavor and are more suited to heartier greens like spinach, collard greens and kale. The chapathi's were soft and look good with speckles of green running all through them. The peas though, do not contribute much flavor-wise, but it was just another way to include a veggie into my meal.

A cup of the stir fry along with a chapati, yogurt and an orange (aren't they at their juiciest best these days) was my dinner last night, what was yours ? Happy St.Patrick's!

30 thoughts:

Divya Vikram said...

Green therapy sounds great and healthy!

Indhu said...

very healthy recipe :)
love the contrasting colour of the orange :)

Superchef said...

i think liking greens is a part of growing up :D thats what ive seen happening to me and many others :) very healthy meal!

Vishali said...

Very healthy meal...and what better way to make them :D..Enjoy!

rads said...

ooo, Chard? Really? I've always gazed longingly at all the greens at the Korean store, choosing just Spinach. I could try this! Will do in fact. :)

Pavani said...

Happy St. Patty's Day Priya. Both the dishes look delicious. I love swiss chard 'cos of its delicate flavor unlike kale or collard greens. Will try your version next time. Have fun!!

Soma said...

I love my greens priya.. almost any kinda green (even when i was a kid:-) ).. lovely recipe. & i can't get enuf of your pictures!

I make spinach or any leafy green uusing yellow mung.. so far my kids love it! I'll try a little coconut next time.

Nags said...

Love the pics! Did you change ur template recently. looks nice and neat!

Sonu said...

Hi Priya, super duper healthy dish. I especially love ur quick peas paratha style. Pics are perfect as ever. :)

A_and_N said...

I love all kinds of greens. ALways have loved them :) This looks very fresh and simple. Will make it sometime.

Alka said...

love greens in any form in any way(edible ofcourse).And this is one great recipe.And hey amazing pictures.....refreshing :-)

Chitra said...

Love the keerai in any form,awesome pics:)

Priya said...


Divya, thank you :) How have you been ?

Indhu, the oranges are soo juicy these days that I can't go without having one. And yes, the color is an added bonus :D

Superchef, such a stereotypical behavior na! I am glad we grow out of it.

Vishali, yup, simple and super fast.

Priya said...


Rads, You must try chard, I get it at the local stores itself. They cook faster the spinach and have a very nice flavor.

Pavani, same here. Kale and collard take soo much longer to cook too. I once started out making a similar stir-fry with collard greens and it just would not get tender!

Soma, You are an Alien, that can be the only answer. I use moong too, but I was too lazy this time :D and thank you, did you get the new s/w installed yet ?

Nags, I moved things around little bit to de-clutter the space. I'm glad you were able to notice it :-)

Priya said...


Sonu, thank you! It was a last min thought to add peas and it worked out well, they don't create problems while rolling out the chapathi's either. How are you ?

A & N, alien just like Soma, and the three others you brought along after you! You even have a profile pic full of greens! Let me know if you like this one :)

Alka, thank you :) Do find Chard in the stores there ?

Chitra, thank you so much, let me know if you try this recipe :-)

Ranjani said...

The greens look great and the clicks are very nice too!

Anonymous said...

hi priya
great going greener
a tbsp of moondad or chanadal should add proteins to ur dish

Vaishali said...

Yeah, it sure is great rediscovering greens as an adult. And swiss chard's one of my favorites too. Lovely stir-fry, Priya.

Nirmala said...

O the chappathi's looks lovely and soft. Would lik to ry it this way. And greens are a grown-up affair as I too was in love with them only when I started cooking. But th drumstick leaves are my childhood favorite and the same holds good with my kids too. The platter looks very inviting! I had idlis with coconut chutney for dinner yesterday :)

Sandeepa said...

The chapatis look super soft. All unknown greens I add to the Dal.
We do make spinach stir fry with green peas never tried with swiss chard. The platter looks very tempting

Last night we had baked salmon, jhinge posto, bittergourd fry & raw sliced tomatoes with rice for me roti for the hubby

Priya said...


Ranjani, thank you :-)

Anon, true, the protein component is missing. My initial plan was to make a molagootal cum andhra style aaku kura dish, but it tasted soo good along with the coconut that I stopped right there :)

Vaishali, its such fun being able to take advantage of the produce available in the grocery stores.

Nirmala, I love drumstick leaves in adai. We had the tree in our backyard, but had to cut it down cos it got infested with kambli poochi, the hairy caterpillars, that cause itching on contact. eeeoww!
idli and chutney for dinner, sounds yummm! idli's are a hit or miss for me :D

Sandeepa, Swiss chard has a really mild, delicate flavor, and it cooks fast :D I'm sure you'll like it. Dal's are such a nice base for greens na ?
Your dinner menu sounds soo balanced Sandeepa! Its been ages since I made more than one side dish for a meal, hehehe. The tomatoes in the stores are so ripe and plump these days na, I am eating them as if they were apples, lol. Thanks for sharing :)

Premyscakes said...

chapathi looks so soft and love the keerai too.

Biswajit said...

I experiment with greens all the time..i fry them and add them to mash potatoes...Thanks for sharing..

bee said...

of all the greens, amaranth and swiss chard are my hands down favs. and water cress, and arugula, and spinach, and kale and :D

The Muse ... said...

Your blog makes me wanna have lunch at Breakfast time! I bet it'd do that to anyone who loves visually appealing food :).

amy said...

Just wanted to drop in a line and let you know of the “Baking Event –Calling all Foodies” hosted by me at the foodie site www.ifood.tv. You are invited to be part of this event that aims to unite bloggers to some great baking this month. The details are all here http://www.ifood.tv/blog/baking_event_calling_all_foodies

vyju said...

My grandparents lived in the US in the early 60's when it was impossible to find gongura and other pacchadis that most andhras would swear by. So my granny and a couple of her peers would actually make do with collard greens( as a substitute for gongura) instead!

Preetha said...

Yummy ...I love chapati.. I am going to try this for today's dinner

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for quite a while and enjoying your wealth of good recipes. When Foodista announced that they are going to publish the best food blogs in a full color book that will be published by Andrews McMeel Publishing Fall 2010, I naturally thought of you. This recipe would be a good submission! You can enter here: http://www.foodista.com/blogbook/submit

Cheers,
Melissa

melissa@foodista.com
Editor and Community Developer
Foodista.com -- The Cooking Encyclopedia Everyone Can Edit

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