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.
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.