Less is More- Collard Greens

During my usual food blog patrol, I stumbled upon this cool idea for the Monthly Blog Patrol event started by Coffee at The Spice Cafe. July's MBP theme is 'Less is More', and people are invited to cook any recipe from a blogger that has five or less ingredients. The event is being hosted by one of my favorite food bloggers, Nupur at One Hot Stove.

I really like the idea of cooking with less, of using spices only to highlight the main ingredient. It also helped that I'd had my eye on the perfect recipe for a very long time.

I'd first read about Haak, a simple Kashmiri recipe for slow-cooked greens, in Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. Soon I started noticing it on all over the blogosphere. This Haak is from A Mad Tea Party's recipe, though I subbed the Veri Masala with Jugalbandi's Kashmiri Garam Masala.


Not counting the salt and the oil, Anita's recipe has 6 ingredients. The lack of fresh green chillies in our fridge took care of that, and we ended up with exactly five ingredients:

2 lbs collard greens/kohlrabi greens/dandelion geens, chopped and tough ribs removed (You can leave them whole if tender)
1 tbsp mustard oil
2 dried red chillies, broken
a hefty pinch of powdered asfoetida
1 pinch of soda bi carb
1/2 tsp Kashmiri Garam Masala (or Veri masala)- optional
salt to taste

– Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pan.
– Add asfoetida, red chillies. Let them sizzle.
– Add 1 cup water. Bring it to a boil.
– Add a pinch of soda (it helps retain the fresh green color) and the greens. Stir them around until they wilt, then add salt, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
– Once the greens are done, uncover, turn up the heat to evaporate most of the remaining water.
– Sprinkle the garam masala at the end.
– Serve with steamed rice and yogurt.

We love everything about the haak, the simplicity, the slightly bitter green taste of the collards, the gorgeous flavor that the mustard oil, asfoetida and the red chillies lend the dish. Having lived in Mississippi for a year and eaten a LOT of collard greens in proper southern manner (with cornbread soaking up the pot liquor), this similar yet very different Kashmiri recipe is my new favorite. It even has pot liquor if I decide to soak my rice in it. πŸ™‚

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About purplesque

Psychiatrist, cook, bookworm, photographer. Not necessarily in that order.
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20 Responses to Less is More- Collard Greens

  1. M-----l says:

    You finally did it. You finally posted a picture of food that doesn't look appetizing to me. The rest of your posts always make me hungry.

  2. Purplesque says:

    The fall begins. Well, it was good while it lasted. I will now pack my bags and move to the Himalayas in quest of divine knowledge.( I spent a lot of time in my first year of residency eating gray collard greens and cornbread. The PTSD is finally beginning to go away..)

  3. M-----l says:

    Ah, yes, gray collard greens and cornbread. I think that's actually what it used to say on the school lunch menu. I'm sure your greens are much tastier.

  4. Anita says:

    Well, guess what – the masala is absolutely optional – I never add it to the greens unless it is late in the season and they are not so flavourful to begin with (of course, they are full of flavour; no matter what your school experience may have been!). So, you have less than 5 ingredients!Grey, what grey? Look, how green the haak is! πŸ˜€

  5. Purplesque says:

    Ha ha..I knew the masala was optional, but we'd just ground our first batch of Kashmiri garam masala and it smelled so good..I couldn't resist adding some in the end!The Mississippi collards were gray, yes, but not bad if you could get past the color. They obviously didn't know of your soda trick..:)

  6. five ingredients!!! Woooooohooooo that's terrific!even 6…!Never tasted greens. Or spinach.

  7. Purplesque says:

    Never ever? Kale, collards, mustard, dandelion, radish, spinach, fenugreek? No greens ever?!!Wow. Why not?

  8. I'm allergic to spinach, mustard, horseradish, and radish …..the others just never came my way. I love lots of lettuces though — and cabbage, and cauliflower, broccoli.

  9. Purplesque says:

    Hm..maybe you can eat broccoli rabe/rapini. Its from the cauliflower family. I'm sorry about that..it would make life impossible for a vegetarian like me. What happens if you eat them?

  10. I'll look for that — thank you!!!It's been a while since I tried– my eyes swell and I cough a lot — but I can eat TINY amounts of horseradish now, without too much problem, so maybe my body's changed enough over the years that the allergies are abating. It might be worth a try again….. I'll look for some mustard and try that.btw– I love horseradish! that's why I've kept testing for it.

  11. Emjay says:

    I don't think I have ever had collards – especially not the grey version mentioned here! LOL. I think this recipe sounds quite nice – the chili would help get it on the astro-dweeb's plate! πŸ™‚

  12. Purplesque says:

    Ew..that sounds awful. ( Some foods make my mouth itch for a while; I'd wondered if that's what you have.) I've never had horseradish greens..would love to try them. Are they available in groceries?

  13. Purplesque says:

    Lol..sacrilege! (They taste like a milder, flatter form of kale.)The original recipe also has green chillies, along with the red ones.. love the flavor of red chili in this dish.

  14. Haha– I didn't know they had greens (but I guess they would, hunh?) I just thought you meant the horseradish in a jar– the little tiny pieces of the root, "prepared." And I've never had mustard greens, either, just the mustard powder stuff and the creamy stuff in a jar. Mouth itch? wow.

  15. Purplesque says:

    Ah..then you might not actually be allergic to mustard greens! (I googled Horseradish greens; they exist, but not in grocery store..only in home gardens. I Love horseradish! :)Raw tomatoes, eggplant with the bitters not completely drained..they start making my mouth feel funny. I know what we call that feeling in Hindi, but not in English..lol

  16. Oh! That's fascinating!eggplant has bitters? I don't eat that either….in Hindi, but not in English.. Wish I could help with that– Raw tomatoes! Yow. But cooked is OK?

  17. Purplesque says:

    Ha ha..it does. I've recently started making Baba Ghanoush at home and have to be careful about draining all that juice.Hah! There is a name for it! Oral Allergy Syndrome..you can get it with eggplant, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, and cantaloupe (Cantaloupe is the worst ). Cooking/salting usually helps. Its benign, but my mouth starts hurting so fast its really not worth it. I found a huge big post on it. Oh don't you Love the internet?

  18. Purplesque says:

    Oh, and here is a more technical one.

  19. bee says:

    this is my favourite way to cook tough greens.

  20. Purplesque says:

    πŸ™‚ I think your haak recipe was the first one I found on the interwebs. It looked utterly gorgeous. I plan to try this with all the greens I can find in the Asian market.

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