Photo updated 13 March 2010
A few weeks ago, at a dinner at a local restaurant, I ordered a main of duck accompanied by dauphinoise potatoes and ‘winter vegetables’. When the food arrived, we realised that, hilariously, ‘the winter vegetables’ consisted of one single small leaf of kale! Hilariously, I say, because we were in a good mood regardless, and in the good company of my brother! I don’t want to even begin saying what and why was wrong with the rest of the food, but that one small leaf of kale did leave an impression. Simply braised and soft, it had a lovely deep flavour, and I was hooked instantly.
A few days later, I bought some gorgeous purple and green kale at the farmers’ market. I remembered seeing a recipe for aloo palak (spinach with potatoes) at Vegeyum, and also at Hooked on Heat recently, and thought kale would be a good substitute for spinach. Good? – It was even better! This is my version of this classic dish. Lightly spiced, with cumin seeds and turmeric, with a background of onions, ginger, garlic and green chilies, allowing the flavour of the potatoes and kale to shine through. It’s a fantastic side dish that I’ll be cooking a lot this autumn and winter!
One word of warning. Normally, if using spinach, I would precook potatoes, but this is not necessary here because the kale takes quite a long time to cook. It is at its best braised gently until soft.
SOURCE: my own recipe
PREPARATION TIME:10 – 15 min
COOKING TIME: 1 – 1.5 h
1 1/2 tbsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2.5 cm ginger, finely chopped
2 green chilies
5 medium potatoes
1/3 tsp turmeric
a handful of purple and/or green kale, sliced into strips
a little water
1. Heat the ghee in the pan on medium heat and add cumin seeds. After they’ve released their aroma and started to change colour, add the onion, sprinkle with salt and cook until they start going brown.
2. At this point, add ginger, chilies and garlic and saute further until the onions turn deeper brown, and the ginger and garlic are cooked.
3. Add the potatoes and fry for a few minutes. Sprinkle with turmeric.
4. Add kale and stir. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook gently. Add water if necessary, and cook until the kale and the potatoes have softened. Adjust salt if necessary.