Kale Subzi

I hate waste, but I will admit, I am not above it.

I get really excited at the sight of fresh vegetables, buy an armload of them, put them in the fridge, and — when life gets in the way — I forget all about them until they have turned into a sloppy, barely-recognizable mess and it’s time to throw them out.

Greens are usually at the top of the casualty list, as anyone that cooks can understand, because of their short shelf life.

So as much as I love greens and leafies of all kinds, I don’t dare to buy them fresh unless I know I will use them rightaway.

On my last trip to the store, I found some wonderfully fresh kale. In my book, kale is a little high maintenance because of the tough stems that need to be trimmed out, so I usually buy it frozen. But this time I simply couldn’t resist their call.

What’s better, I found this deliciously simple recipe for them in World Vegetarian. It’s actually a recipe that can be adapted to any leafy vegetable, and although Sri Lankan in origin, it was not that different from some Indian recipes for greens.

So kale it was for dinner last night, and I must say I loved both the ease of preparation of this recipe as well as the subtle flavor of the simple spices that held up beautifully against the robust taste of the kale.

Kale Subzi


1 bunch kale, tough stems trimmed, and leaves cut into very thin strips.

1 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil

1 onion, cut into very thin slices

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 green chillies, slit down the middle

1 sprig curry leaves (about 10-15 individual leaves)

1/4 cup shredded coconut

Salt to taste

Heat oil in a saucepan.

Add the onions, chillies and curry leaves and saute, stirring frequently, until the onion turns golden-brown.

Add the kale, turmeric and salt. Add about 1/2 cup of water. When the water comes to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover with a lid, and simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the kale is tender. Add more water if needed.

Toss in the coconut and serve hot with rice and dal, or rotis/chapatis.


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  1. says

    I do the same! 😀

    I just clean up my fridge with Bell peppers, cooked Potatoes, Beets and beans!! With greens which can slimy quickly, if I don’t have plans to cook within 3 days, I chop and freeze them.

    Love Kale subzi, full of Folate and delicious too.

  2. says

    I have the same problem! I pick up more than I can cook in a week, and the fist one into the crisper gets long forgotten. So the last two weeks I made it a point to pickup only 2 veggies, I can drive out if I really need anything else. I wasted a few leaves of kale the last time I bought them, so the chard got cooked the very same day this week :))

  3. says

    A handy (har har) trick I’ve learned to clean kale is to hold the bottom of the stem in one fist, then wrap your other hand the same way at the base of the leaf and pull along the stem – no knife necessary! I eat kale almost daily, so this has really helped me out.

    PS – Love your blog!

  4. says

    I always freeze the extra greens. & am kinda got in to the habit of emptying the entire fridge before i go shopping.. the last bits always going in mixed veggies, salad or dal. this is the 2nd post i am seeing green with coconut! need to try it.

  5. says

    Kale is a pretty sturdy green–we’ve found that if you put a few tablespoons of water in a plastic bag, put in the kale leaves and then tie a tight knot in the bag, they will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge.

    I’ve always felt that Kale is one of the most unloved greens in the produce aisle. You can buy a huge bunch for as little as a dollar or two, and you can make healthy meals for days out of it!

    Casual Kitchen

  6. says

    I would have never thought to cook kale in such a subzi, this is such a great idea and it looks delish.

    I have begun to buy less in my weekend shopping so that I do not land up with too many veggies needing to get used soon !

  7. says

    I make something similar- a thoran .
    I have the same problem with greens. They begin to go bad before I get a chance to use them. That’s why I tend to use the frozen versions of such veggies, more. I did not know that frozen kale was available. Will be on the lookout for it now.

  8. says

    I do a lot of mixed veg stuff … usually the Bengali way.
    I do not know what kale is Vaishali .. does it have an english/hindi name .. or is kale a hindi name? :-(

  9. says

    Greens are usually at the top of the casualty list
    i completely agree with u. i make it a point that i buy greens only if i am going to cook them with in 2 days.
    lovely kale subji Vaish.

  10. says

    I too have the same problems with fresh veggies and greens :( This dish looks so good! I tried cooking with kale once but it didnt suit my taste that much! This version looks yummy, cant wait to try this one :)

  11. says

    Hi could someone please tell me where can I buy Kale in India or in Tamil Nadu. I need it for its health benefits Urgently….please help

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