April 23, 2012

Curried Kale & Mushrooms

So maybe its just me and I'm stingy with my kale ... but each time I've bought a bunch of kale, I've ended up using it for 2 or 3 different recipes. This time was no different. I made the Zucchini & Kale Casserole earlier in the week and had about half the bunch leftover, that I needed to use soon. Also, I had some fresh white button mushrooms in the fridge which I wanted to use before they became covered in dark blemishes. 

Curried Kale & Mushrooms
Most importantly, given my recent inspiration and my return to a maker of Indian flat bread i.e. Rotis/Chapatis ;-) ... I spent $39.99 and bought me a marble pastry board on Saturday. Of course, I was dying to give it a try as I had a tough time rolling out rotis on my old (slightly warped) wooden cutting board.  

Chakla (Hindi: चकला)
Since I had to make rotis, and I had to use my Kale and I had to use my fresh mushrooms, the choice was easy. I had to make a curry, which I called rather inventively, Curried Kale & Mushrooms :) !! What is  Curry? ... Now, a lot of folks think that all curries are the same and all curries have curry powder in them. Unfortunately, this couldn't be farther from the truth. Curry is a rather generic term applied by Western cultures to a wide variety of cuisines including Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and even Thai. While most of these cuisines employ a lot of similar spices and herbs, not all curries are made equal and not all curries have the same, or all, the available herbs and spices.  Curries may be wet or dry, spicy or bland, and may use whole or powdered spices, and even raw or roasted spices. Interestingly, even the same vegetables are not always cooked with the same blend of spices, even in the same country. In Southern India, Green Beans are made simply with mustard seeds and coconut milk, while in the North, the same green beans are cooked with cumin, coriander and turmeric.  The version I made today, leans more towards Southern India, but is definitely not authentic cuisine, and I used only 2 spices for this curry.

Prep Time: 20 min

  1. 6-8 leaves of Kale, stalks removed and leaves torn into bite sized pieces (New Veggie # 23)
  2. 6 oz fresh mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  3. 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  4. 1-2 tsp Mustard seeds
  5. 1 tsp Black Sesame seeds
  6. 1-2 tsp Split Urad dal (green lentils)
  7. 1 tsp minced Garlic
  8. 1 small red onion, diced
  9. 1 small/medium tomato, diced
  10. Salt, and freshly cracked Black pepper, to taste. 
In a dry non-stick skillet, roast the lentil seeds until golden brown and then quench the heat with vegetable broth to prevent the lentils from burning. Add mustard, sesame and garlic and allow the aromas to be released before adding onions and tomatoes. saute for a few minutes ad add Kale. 

Allow the leaves to wilt, toss everything together, and then add the mushrooms.

Toss everything together and add salt to taste. Remember to go easy on the salt as both the mushrooms and the kale will cook down considerably. Cover the skillet, and let the flavors blend for a few minutes until all the water is evaporated. Serve with freshly made chapatis. Yum!!

My Assessment: This dish is fresh despite the veggies being cooked down thanks to the minimal spices. It's a great summer dish to enjoy even with just bread, if Chapatis are not your thing ... ! Feel free to substitute any kind of leafy green instead of Kale and any kind of mushroom that you have on hand. In fact, you don't even need to add mushrooms. That's the wonder of Indian cooking, you can improvise everyday and come up with a new dish with the same ingredients. Enjoy!!

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