Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Greens from the Subcontinent


Ssssssshhhhhhhhh…quiet, now. We don't want to frighten it. It took its sweet time getting here, but it looks like it may, it just might maybe possibly be here. But don't get too giddy and start shouting. Smile, nod, even pull out your sandals and capris, that's OK. Just don't make a ruckus and scare summer away…we want it to stick around!

So assuming it is here, I wanted to share what looks like my go-to side dish for summer barbecues, care of my friend Sophie Rahman of Masala NW. I ran into her while she was doing a demo at the Buckman Farmers' Market the other day, and when I saw how easy this stir-fried vegetable dish was I had to have the recipe.

Sophie's been teaching Indian cooking classes out of her home for a couple of years now, helping people learn to incorporate the intoxicating spices and ingredients of that coountry in their everyday cooking. Her focus is on market-fresh produce, and for her demo she'd picked up a bag of gorgeous braising greens and spring onions from a couple of vendors. These were combined with bright yellow dal she'd made ahead, then mixed in at the end of cooking.

So simple, so delicious. And would even make a meal in itself, especially with the carrot raisin salad tossed with sautéed black mustard seeds she made at the same demo!

Sophie's Poriyal

1/2 c. dry yellow split peas or moong dal
1 tsp. urad dal or white split gram beans
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1 c. onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 bunches fresh spinach or other greens, washed and chopped (4-6 c.)
1 whole dried chile pepper
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
2 Tbsp. ground fresh coconut
1 tsp. salt or to taste

In a medium saucepan, bring about 2 c. of water to a boil. Add yellow split peas or moong dal and turmeric powder and cook over medium heat, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until lentils are semi-soft (should be al dente…do not overcook). When split peas are just tender, drain and set aside.

In a deep-sided skillet over medium heat, heat oil with whole red chili pepper. When oil is hot but not smoking, stir in mustard seeds and urad dal. Cover and fry until mustard seeds pop and urad dal is golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add minced ginger, fry briefly and then add the chopped onion and stir for 1 minute. Add the chopped greens and stir well, coating the spinach with the spices. Add 1/2 c. water and salt. Cover and cook over medium heat until spinach is tender, about 7-10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add drained lentils to greens mixture and blend thoroughly. Sprinkle with coconut, stir briefly and serve.

Other seasonal vegetables like sugar snap peas (2 c.), green beans (3 c. diced), or cabbage and carrot (3 c. shredded cabbage, 1/2 c. shredded carrots), can be substituted for the greens. Left-over Poriyal can be used to make a wrap sandwich for lunch.

1 comment:

Professor Bugenhagen said...

i've been looking for a good "greens" recipe: having recently transmigrated from the south to midwest:this is a must make...

a tamil friend introduced me to dal, which is not only versatile, but he told me as a vegetarian and scientists, provides necessary amino acids