I am a cautious person by nature and try and avoid taking too many risks. Maybe it is my inherent nature that I don’t like taking any risks or maybe it is middle class upbringing that stops me venturing into uncharted territories. Not that I have not taken risks in life, trust me I have but all of them have been calculated risks with me weighing down the pros and cons. Thinking and over thinking about everything that lies ahead if I take the step forward.
And I am like that even in cooking. I hardly ever cook things that I am not comfortable with or know may not turn out the way I want them to be. So when I brought “Swiss Chard” or “Silver Beet” as it is also called I felt like I was on an adventure. I had never eaten or cooked with Swiss chard before and with a little research on Google I found out that was a very cool vegetable to cook with.
It is also a very healthy vegetable full of nutrition, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Swiss chard has a thick crunchy stalk and wide fan like leaves. It can be blanched in hot water and then used either in soups, stir fries or curries. Since it was the first time I was cooking with it, I was unaware of the flavors and the taste that it would impart. So even though I was being adventurous the cautious me, wanted to play it safe and I decided to use it in the very popular “Spinach Dal” and substitute the Spinach with the Chard.
I blanched the Chard in hot water and only added it in the dal at the end to retain its crunchiness and color and my god it was delicious. I was really impressed with how flavorsome the dal tasted. And I am glad I made the attempt to discover this beauty. Keep watching this space for more dishes involving “Swiss chard”.
Recipe (Cooking time 40 minutes, serves 2 – 4)
1 Coffee cup Toor Dal (Pigeon Pea)
2 medium sized Tomatoes finely chopped
3 Stalks of Swiss chard
Salt to taste
1 tsp Turmeric
For the Tempering
1 tbsp Ghee
2 – 3 cloves of Garlic finely sliced
3 dry Red Chillies
1 tsp Cumin seeds
½ tsp Asafoetida
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
Preparing the Swiss chard
Wash the chard well remove any dirt and chop it.
Boil water and add a pinch of Sugar this will retain the colour. Add the chard to the boiling water and leave it for 2 – 3 minutes.
Drain in a colander and run under cold water to stop cooking.
Preparing the Dal
Wash the dal and cook it with 1 ½ cup water with chopped Tomatoes, Turmeric and Salt till cooked in a pressure cooker. If you are cooking it in a pan then keep removing the scum that floats on the dal while you are cooking it.
Once the Dal is cooked, add the Swiss chard and cook for 10 minutes.
Tempering the dal
Heat Ghee in a pan, add the cumin seeds and Garlic till the Garlic is almost burnt (burnt Garlic tastes delicious in dal). Add the Asafoetida and dry red chillies, once the chilli changes colour add the chilli powder and pour the tempering on the dal.
Serve hot on a bed of plain boiled Rice with a little Lemon juice drizzled on top.