Although collard greens do grow and are eaten in northern India, I had never tasted this nutritional powerhouse until I moved to the United States. In Mumbai, on India's west coast, where I was born and where I lived before my move, collard greens were, at least at the time, not available and I am pretty certain if I were to ask my parents about collard greens even today, they would go, huh?
But with all that I know about the deliciousness and healthfulness of collards, I have to admit I don't cook them as often as I should. In past years, I've shared with you a delicious collard greens sabzi from Kashmir, and I sometimes throw it in spicy curries like this Black Eyed Peas Tikka Masala.
The recipe I have for you today is a great way to eat these greens and enjoy their flavor and goodness without letting them get overwhelmed by accompanying flavors: my Dal with Collard Greens.
Like most greens, collards contain tons of Vitamins A and C, and valuable B vitamins like Folate. They are also packed with fiber, of course, and are known to be potent fighters of that unholy triumvirate of killers: heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Among a host of other diseases.
For this dal, I saute the collards in a tiny bit of vegetable stock and then add a few spices and the lentils to it. Cook for a few minutes and finish off with a tempering (tadka) of garlic, which adds yet another dimension of flavor and health.
This past Sunday we went to a wine and art festival in Sykesville, Maryland, a beautiful little town that's been called the "coolest small town" in the United States. It's a fun little affair where you can stroll along Main Street, looking into booths selling art and jewelry, a glass of wine in hand, tasting delicious regional wines. We snacked on deep-fried pretzels (yikes! but tasty), walked through an old church with beautiful stained-glass windows, and watched an artisan demonstrate the art of woodturning to make beautiful wooden bowls and honey dippers, among other shapes.
By the time we got home, tired but on a high (of many kinds!), I had just enough time to make this dal along with some rice and a side of roasted fingerling potatoes. It was a tasty and healthy way to end a day of nutritional hedonism.
Here is my recipe for Dal with Collard Greens. It's a keeper.
Dal with Collard Greens Recipe
Dal with Collard Greens
- 1 cup dry pigeon peas (tuvar dal), boiled until tender enough that it mushes when you use a whisk
- 1 bunch (about five cups chopped) collard greens. Stack the leaves and slice into thin ribbons
- 2 tbsp vegetable stock or water
- 1 tbsp coriander seed powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 2 dry Kashmiri chilies (these are extremely mild. Use any mild red chili pepper as a substitute, including ancho or Anaheim)
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 6-8 cloves garlic, crushed and sliced
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- In a saucepan, place the collard green ribbons with a touch of salt and the vegetable stock or water. Cover and cook about 8-10 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently to make sure they don't stick to the bottom. If they do, add some more stock or water.
- Add the coriander seed powder, cumin powder. dry chilies broken into pieces, and turmeric. Stir well to mix and cook another couple of minutes.
- Add the cooked dal and, if it's too thick, thin it out with water. Add the ground black pepper. Bring to a boil and let the dal cook with the spices and the collards for another 10 minutes.
- In a small pan, heat the oil for tempering. Add mustard seeds and, when they sputter, add the garlic slivers. Saute until they start to color.
- Pour the oil with mustard seeds and garlic into the dal and mix well. Add salt if needed, squeeze in the lemon juice, and serve hot.