November 25, 2015

Spicy Kale Rice

Kale is health conscious America's favorite poster child, and is one of the 'super-veggies' always in the top of the 'you should be eating this' lists. Top celebrities, including presidents and many hollywood stars have made it very fashionable by claiming to eat it daily. Of course, there are a lot of Kale jokes around as well, and my son sometimes tells his friends that we are 'Kaleing' him :-), but then he loves anything made with Kale too.

Kale was also in the news recently when it got some attention for the news about the side effects of eating too much of it. I was reading thru some of them and most of the so called 'side effects' are caused by eating too much of it via raw salads, juices and salads. Also, from what I understand, in most of the cases the people are newbies to eating kale or any veggies for that matter, and all of a sudden if you start eating a ton of kale, that too in raw form, it may not suit your body right away. So the key is to cook the kale, and include a variety of veggies in your diet to have balance and eat everything (including kale) in moderation :-)

Coming to cooking with Kale, it is a very versatile green that can fit into a multitude of dishes, like a salad, or a soup, or a chip or an Indian inspired dish like this one. I feel it is better than spinach when substituted in some of the Indian spinach dishes because it has more character and texture. This is more of a fall dish when you get an abundance of fresh locally produced kale, but you can make it anytime of the year especially in winter when you really crave for something spicy. 

  • Rice - 1 cup *
  • Kale - 6-8 leaves
  • Homemade tomato paste - 2 Tbs **
  • Green chilly - 3-4 
  • Garlic - 2-3 cloves
  • Fresh ginger - 1/2 inch 
  • Cardamom - 3-4 pods
  • Clove - 3-4
  • Coconut oil - 2 Tbs
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Sea salt - as pet taste
  • Cook rice with 1 and 3/4th cups of water.
  • Meanwhile, separate kale from the stem, tear into small pieces. 
  • Add kale pieces to a food processor along with ginger, garlic, green chilly, cardamom and cloves. Process till everything is very finely chopped, almost minced.
  • Heat a pan on medium heat, add coconut oil. Add kale mixture, tomato paste, turmeric powder and salt. 
  • Cook on medium heat, stirring continuously for about 5-8 minutes till the kale is cooked and soft.
  • Switch off, add cooked rice and mix well. 
  • Keep covered for 30 minutes.
  • Serve warm. Enjoy!!

* You can use any kind of rice, just judgement for cooking time and amount of water accordingly. If it is a whole grain rice, be sure to soak it for a few hours or overnight. 
** To make tomato paste: Quarter well ripe (I use Campari) tomatoes and start cooking on medium heat. Let tomatoes cook with its own water. Gradually water content will reduce in about 25-30 minutes. When your desired consistency is reached, switch off and let it cool. Puree and store in an airtight jar. This can be refrigerated up to 2-3 weeks.

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