I don’t eat enough leafy greens. They are supposed to be super foods brimming with antioxidants and vitamins. They are some of the healthiest foods on the planet and I hardly consume any of them. It’s not intentional, but somehow, they always get overlooked. I think my problem is I don’t know what to do with them half of the time. I am not much for sautéed greens; it’s something about the texture and that’s usually the first recipe you will find when you Google any green. Indian cooking has a few saag dishes which are made with greens: mustard greens, dill, fenugreek leaves, spinach. My mum mainly made spinach and fenugreek leaves which have a wonderful bitter taste that I really love. My foray into healthy eating and cooking has introduced me to a whole another world of greens and vegetables.
One of my favourite Indian spinach dishes is spinach with chicken (palak murgh) or spinach with beef/lamb (palak gosht.) I decided to use the same recipe to make some beautiful, baby rainbow chard I bought at the market. I have used chard before: sautéed, in a tart, in a soup, and it was good but not something that made me want to keep on buying bunches of it. I want to increase my intake of leafy greens but it’s not going to happen if I don’t like what I am making.
I used the tender, baby chard for this recipe. I couldn’t resist buying it because it looked so beautiful just spilling over in the basket at the farmers market. At the time I had no idea what I was going to do with it! I just knew I had to buy a bag of the green, rainbow veined leaves. I think you will agree.
1 cup/236ml water (may need more)
Heat the oil in a large pan or braiser on medium high heat.
Add the onions and cook until golden brown, about ten minutes.
Put in the chicken pieces and coat in the oil and stir about a bit.
Add the turmeric, red chilli powder, garlic and ginger and fry.
Make sure the chicken does not stick or the onions burn.
Add half a cup of water, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up
all the browned bits. Lower the heat and cook the chicken for ten minutes.
After ten minutes, uncover the pan and add the potatoes.
Stir the chicken and potatoes and add another half cup of water.
Cook for another ten minutes and check the potatoes.
They should be just tender. If they are too firm, add a drop more water,
cover the pan and cook for another five minutes or till they are done.
You don’t want them mushy, but cooked enough so that when the chard is added, you are not over cooking it waiting for the potatoes to be done.
Once the potatoes are tender yet firm, add the chard.
It may look like a lot but like spinach it will cook down quite a bit.
Cook the chard uncovered so the moisture evaporates. I like a little bit of liquid to spoon on my rice, but the overall dish is supposed to be dry.
Add the green chilli and the fenugreek when the chard has wilted.
When most of the liquid has gone and the chard has wilted, check for the salt and adjust accordingly.
Add the fresh cilantro and stir through.
Enjoy with rice or hot parathas/naan.
This dish turned out to be incredibly delicious, as good as the spinach version. It passed the children test too. I did use the baby chard and they have a much milder flavour than the bigger leaves but I think this will work well with any chard. I am happy that I have another dish to add to my repertoire that has greens in it!
If you try it, let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading!