Keerai Poriyal| Rainbow Chard Stir-Fry

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.)

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The Swiss Rainbow Chard that I picked up at Ragi Kana last week. When greens look as good as that, how do you not click them?!

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.

Keerai Poriyal or Tamilnadu-Style Rainbow Chard Stir-Fry

Let’s now check out the recipe I used for the Keerai Poriyal or Rainbow Chard Stir-Fry, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. 1 medium-sized bunch of Swiss chard, roughly 3 cups when finely chopped
  2. 1 tablespoon oil
  3. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds aka rai
  4. 2 pinches of asafoetida or hing
  5. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or jeera
  6. 1 teaspoon split white urad dal
  7. 2-3 dry red chillies
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
  11. 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut

Method:

  1. Wash the greens well under running water. Place them in a colander for a few minutes, and let all the water drain away.
  2. Chop the greens finely. Keep aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Add the coconut at this stage. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for a minute more. Switch off gas.
  7. Serve hot or at room temperature with hot rice, along with morkozhambu, rasam, sambar or vattalkozhambu.

Notes:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Adjust the quantity of coconut you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.
  6. Chop the greens finely, for a great consistency of the Keerai Poriyal.
  7. You may skip the sugar entirely, but I like adding it in. It balances out any slight bitterness that the greens might have.
  8. Finely chopped coriander or curry leaves can be added to the stir-fry too. We usually don’t.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!

I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #251. The co-hosts this week are Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes.

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