Growing up I am sure we’ve all encountered our parents encouraging us to ‘eat our greens’ and reluctantly forcing, the invariably boiled, greens into our mouths. I have nothing against greens, far from it, I think they are delicious, I just think that a little helping hand from a few Indian spices goes a long way to making a fairly bland dish into an elevated one that you actually want to eat! There was a great article in the Observer back in September 2013 by journalist Tim Lott (see here) which discusses the issues parents have surrounding making their children eat greens or green vegetables in general. The crux of the matter is that if it doesn’t taste good they are simply not going to enjoy or want to eat it. Also if we use the health mantra on them constantly this in itself is going to be a turn off. We seem to be caught up in our own worry of putting healthy things in their months, but if we perhaps stand back and relax they will too and a natural love of these healthy foods will develop.
You’ll see in my recipe that I have added fresh chilli to the dish. I find my eldest daughter likes chilli, but with my four year old I simply omit it as she isn’t quite ready for the chilli kick! Chillies range hugely in heat levels so start off with the very mild ones – they tend to be the large ones you buy in the supermarkets. The smaller the chilli the hotter they tend to be in general.
Whilst the dish I want to show you today is vegetarian I also find that greens and kale work wonderfully well with chorizo (or any pork product really) and butter beans. If you have a moment take a look at my caldo verde recipe – here, for inspiration. It’s hearty and straightforward and perfect for cold winter days.
1 bunch of greens, washed and finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 small green chillies, finely sliced
2 tbsp sunflower/vegetable oil
2 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1. After preparing the greens, garlic and chilli add the oil to a large pan. When the oil is hot add the nigella seeds and turmeric followed by the garlic and chilli. Reduce the heat and stir to avoid the garlic burning.
2. Add the greens and stir thoroughly so that they become totally covered in the other ingredients. Keep stirring for a few minutes and then place the lid on the pan. You may find that you need to add a little water at this stage.
3. Simmer gently and the greens will wilt and reduce in size. Add the salt to taste and more water if necessary. The dish will take no longer than 10 minutes to cook in total.
Simple, straightforward and totally satisfying.
I like to eat them with a dal or my Indian potato curry (blog post on this soon).