Microgreens are all the rage these days, at least in the fine dining space. Rightly so, too, because they are packed with nutrients, and help in adding a whole lot of texture and taste to various dishes. These little greens also add hugely to the visual appeal of a dish. However, microgreens are most commonly associated with fancy dishes in fancy restaurants. These days, though, they are easily available for use by home cooks as well, and can be used in a lot of everyday Indian cooking. I was recently sent a tub of pok choi microgreens by Living Food Company, and have been enjoying putting them in anything and everything!
What are microgreens?
Microgreens are nothing but little shoots of vegetables, just a few inches high. Do not confuse them with ‘baby greens’ – microgreens are smaller than baby greens, and much fresher. The microgreens from Living Food Company are grown without any chemicals or pesticides and are delivered to you in an eco-friendly tub, just a few days old, very much alive! Can you imagine just how fresh they would be? Sprinkle some water over them, and they stay well for 3-5 days more. You can keep them in your kitchen or balcony, and just snip a handful of the greens to use as and when you need them!
Arugula, basil, radish, beetroot, amaranth, spinach, fenugreek, pok choi, coriander, kale, cabbage, carrot.. there is a long list of microgreens available to the cook of today.
Microgreens have a highly concentrated, very intense flavour profile as compared to regular greens. Research has shown that microgreens have an exceptionally high concenration of nutrients too, as compared to fully-grown greens or vegetables. Also, like I was saying above, they are great to add some complexity, texture, colour and flavour to food, making it look prettier too.
How to use microgreens?
- Microgreens are known to have a short shelf life, and are best used within a week’s time of harvest.
- If you are using a living tub of microgreens, just snip off the greens from the roots using a pair of kitchen scissors. The roots should not be consumed. The little leaves and their stems are perfectly safe for consumption.
- Ideally, microgreens should be eaten raw or, at best, lightly stir-fried. Overcooking tampers with their nutritional content and flavour profile. This is why they are best candidates for use in sandwiches and burgers, salads or just sprinkled over cooked dishes or desserts as a garnish.
- Different microgreens have different flavours to them. Some will be quite spicy, some slightly bitter, some with a mustard-y punch to them. Choose dishes to use them in accordingly.
- Microgreens can very much be used in a regular Indian kitchen, and need not be restricted only to Western food preparations. There are a whole lot of dishes that are cooked in an average Indian kitchen, which can benefit from the use of microgreens. Stop being intimidated by them and thinking of them as something exotic, let your imagination run wild, and you will open yourself up to myriad possibilities in your kitchen!
Here is how I used pok choi microgreens in a Thai Green Mango & Carrot Salad
I used some of the pok choi microgreens sent to me by Living Food Company in a Thai-style salad with green mango and carrot. The slight bitterness of the greens beautifully complemented the sourness from the raw mango and the sweetness of the carrot and honey I used in it. I loved how the greens made the salad richer and all the more delish!
Here is how I made the Thai Green Mango Salad With Carrot and Pok Choi Microgreens.
Ingredients (makes 4 small servings):
- 1 medium-sized raw mango
- 1 medium-sized carrot
- 1/4 cup pok choy microgreens
- 1/4 cup raw peanuts
- About 2 tablespoons of fresh coriander, finely chopped
- 2 green chillies
- Salt to taste
- 3 tablespoons honey or to taste
- Get a pan nice and hot and add in the raw peanuts. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame till they get slightly crisp, stirring intermittently to ensure that they do not burn. Switch off gas and allow the peanuts to cool down entirely.
- Meanwhile, peel the raw mango and carrot and julienne them. Transfer the juliennes to a large mixing bowl.
- Add finely chopped coriander and the pok choy microgreens to the mixing bowl too.
- Chop the green chillies very finely. Add to the mixing bowl.
- When the roasted peanuts have entirely cooled down, coarsely crush them in a mixer. Add the coarsely crushed peanuts to the mixing bowl.
- Add salt to taste and honey. Mix well. Serve the Thai Green Mango Salad immediately.
1. For best results, use a green mango that is semi-ripe, so it will be a bit sweet and not overly sour. A raw totapuri works beautifully in the making of this Thai Green Mango Salad.
2. Adjust the quantity of green chillies and honey you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.
3. I have used an Ooty carrot here, which has a certain amount of inherent sweetness to it. If you are using any other variety of carrot, you might need to increase the quantity of honey a bit.
4. Palm sugar, powdered jaggery or brown sugar can be used in place of honey too.
5. You can add in other ingredients to this Thai Green Mango Salad, too – like finely chopped ginger, garlic, onion, cooked sweet corn, cooked moong bean sprouts and the like. I haven’t, because I was limited by what was available in my kitchen and because I wanted to keep things really simple.
6. I have used pok choy microgreens from Living Food Company to make this salad. I was sent a free sample of the microgreens by Living Food, to test in my kitchen. I loved the superb quality of the produce, and am loving using it in all and sundry dishes. The thoughts expressed about the greens here are entirely my own, entirely honest, and not influenced by anything or anyone. This is not a sponsored post.
7. You may use any other type of microgreens in this Thai Green Mango Salad, too.
8. Increase or decrease the quantity of microgreens you use in the Thai Green Mango Salad, as per personal taste preferences. The pok choy microgreens I have used had a little bitterness to them, which complemented the sourness from the raw mango, the sweetness from the honey and carrot, and the spiciness from the green chillies perfectly. The above quantities were just perfect for us.
7. I have used a julienne peeler to julienne the carrot and green mango. Julienning vegetables, as opposed to grating them, stops the salad from getting too soggy.
8. Ensure that the peanuts do not burn, while dry roasting them. Let them cool down fully before coarsely crushing them in a mixer. Remember that you need to crush them coarsely, and not make a fine powder.
9. Do not let the Thai Green Mango Salad sit out for too long after preparing it. Serve it immediately. You may roast the peanuts and keep them ready in advance, but julienne the carrots and green mango just before you plan to make the salad, for best results.
10. I washed the microgreens in running water and patted them dry with a clean kitchen towel before using them in making this salad.
I hope you found this post helpful!
Did you like the recipe? Do tell me in your comments!