Until very recently, Rainbow Chard was something I only ever read about on international food blogs. It wasn’t readily available in India – it still isn’t, in the mainstream market. If at all we find a vendor selling it, it costs a bomb. No wonder it isn’t a popular green in Indian households! A pity, considering how full of nutrition the greens are, and oh-so-pretty with those gorgeously coloured stalks!
Just a couple of weeks ago, I found Mapletree Farms from Hosur selling their organically grown produce at Ragi Kana, a very non-commercial market that happens every Sunday at Bannerghatta, an event that I have come to love. I was thrilled to find Swiss Chard and Rainbow Chard among the veggies on offer by Mapletree – all of which was very fresh, very much grown locally, without the use of pesticides, and priced quite nominally too. I simply had to pick up some of their produce, Swiss Chard included – I’d be a fool not to! I must say I am thrilled with the variety of greens, fruits and veggies that Mapletree offers; it has been an out-and-out delight using this great-quality produce in my kitchen. I can’t see myself not being a regular customer of theirs! (An honest, straight-out-of-the-heart review that I make without any commercials involved.)
I used the Rainbow Chard leaves in a very Tamilian stir-fry, a Keerai Poriyal. This is an easy preparation, one that takes bare minutes to put together, and is quite a delicious way to get all the nutrition from those greens in. All of us at home absolutely loved it! It made a wonderful pair with the sambar rice I served it with.
Let’s now check out the recipe I used for the Keerai Poriyal or Rainbow Chard Stir-Fry, shall we?
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 1 medium-sized bunch of Swiss chard, roughly 3 cups when finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds aka rai
- 2 pinches of asafoetida or hing
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or jeera
- 1 teaspoon split white urad dal
- 2-3 dry red chillies
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut
- Wash the greens well under running water. Place them in a colander for a few minutes, and let all the water drain away.
- Chop the greens finely. Keep aside.
- Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds, and let them pop. Add the dry red chillies, cumin, urad dal and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds, or till the urad dal begins to brown. Take care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn.
- Now, turn the flame down to medium. Add the finely chopped greens to the pan. Cook, stirring intermittently, till the greens wilt, about 2 minutes.
- Lightly salt the greens, and add the sugar and turmeric powder. Mix well. Cook on medium flame, stirring intermittently, till everything is well incorporated together. In another 2 minutes or so, any water draining out of the greens should have dried up, and the stir-fry should get dry.
- Add the coconut at this stage. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for a minute more. Switch off gas.
- Serve hot or at room temperature with hot rice, along with morkozhambu, rasam, sambar or vattalkozhambu.
- Gingelly oil or coconut oil works best, in this Keerai Poriyal. If you don’t have either, though, any other variety of oil you prefer can be used.
- Some green peas, chopped carrot, boiled chickpeas or cowpeas, garlic cloves, pearl onions, chopped beans or red onion can be added to the Swiss Chard Stir-Fry too. We usually keep it really simple, though, and use only the greens.
- Any other greens (spinach or amaranth, for example) can be used to make a stir-fry in a similar manner, instead of Swiss Chard. You can even mix 2-3 varieties of greens.
- Be careful while adding the salt. The greens don’t withstand salt very well – the dish can become overly salty if you aren’t cautious.
- Adjust the quantity of coconut you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.
- Chop the greens finely, for a great consistency of the Keerai Poriyal.
- You may skip the sugar entirely, but I like adding it in. It balances out any slight bitterness that the greens might have.
- Finely chopped coriander or curry leaves can be added to the stir-fry too. We usually don’t.
- The heat in this Keerai Poriyal comes only from the dried red chillies. If you want more spiciness, you may add in a dash of red chilli powder, but that does not really belong in an authentic Keerai Poriyal.
- Do not add any water while cooking the stir-fry. The greens will release enough juices of their own, and the stir-fry will have enough liquid to cook in. Cook the stir-fry uncovered.
Do you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!