Here’s a delicious and easy dish that seems, incidentally, to touch on all the reasons why I write this blog!
Firstly, I’m not writing a ‘cheffy’ blog…there are people who do that incredibly well already, and I’m not one of them. I hope that I’m offering recipes that provide ordinary, everyday, tasty, nutritional, economical solutions to cooking vegan in a varied and interesting way.
As far as I’m concerned, I’m vegan for life, and this blog helps me so much, and I just hope that it helps anyone else from time to time too. 🙂
Secondly, if there’s one style of cuisine that shines the light for vegan cooking, it has to be Asian style, and particularly Indian cooking. I love Indian spices, they turn the simplest and most modest ingredients into something absolutely fab!
Thirdly, I do grow a lot of my own veg. and my line of chard (which has been giving all winter) has finally bolted, so I picked the last of it the other day, and will be sowing more very soon. I’ve used it here in an adaptation of the classic, Saag Aloo : Spinach and Potato Curry, so please feel free to use spinach instead of Chard.
Also, I want to say that I’m not a nutritionist, although I know a lot more about what I eat than I ever did before I was vegan, and Swiss Chard, this beautiful, dark green, leafy vegetable seems to be up there, packed with vitamins and minerals. I think it would be great raw in a mixed salad too.
So here’s my take on a healthy, nutritious, delicious, inexpensive meal …hope you enjoy!
POTATO AND SWISS CHARD CURRY
- 2 tbs. oil such as vegetable ghee, rapeseed oil or olive oil.
- 1.5 kg. potatoes (a creamy/waxy variety rather than floury) : peeled, washed and chopped into chunks roughly 2 cm. square.
- 450gms. Swiss Chard : washed, trimmed and cut into ribbons approx. 1 cm. thick.
- 3 large garlic cloves: peeled and crushed.
- A stick of fresh ginger (approx. 40gms.) peeled and very finely grated.
- 1-2 hot red finger chillies (up to you how much heat you like, but this curry deserves a good punch of heat) : trimmed, de-seeded and very finely diced.
- 1 tsp. mustard seeds.
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds.
- 1 tsp. turmeric.
- 0.5 – 1 tsp. chilli powder (up to you how much you choose to use).
- 2 tsps. coriander seeds: finely ground.
- 1.5 – 2 tsps. salt ( I use Himalayan salt).
- 150 ml. water.
- Juice 1 small lemon.
- You also need a square piece of baking parchment or greaseproof paper to amply cover the potatoes whilst cooking (see pics.)
- Mix the turmeric, chilli powder, ground coriander and salt together and set aside.
- Take a large, wide, deep-sided pan (5L is good), with a tight fitting lid, and place on a high heat.
- Add 2 tbs. oil.
- When the oil is hot add the mustard seeds. Allow to sizzle for 30secs.
- Add cumin seeds and sizzle for a further 30 secs. Avoid burning.
- Add crushed garlic, grated ginger and chopped chillies.
- Sauté for 1 min. Adjust heat to avoid burning.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the mixed spices and salt. Sauté for 30 secs.
- Add chopped potatoes and stir to coat in the spicy mix. Sauté for 2 mins. or so.
- Add 150 ml. water, bring to a quick simmer, and then cover the potatoes snuggly with baking parchment or greaseproof paper (see pic.).
- Place the lid tightly on the pan, reduce heat to absolute minimum. (I used a heat diffuser).
- Allow the potatoes to cook for approx. 40 mins. You can check them quickly after 30 mins. to see how they are doing, but not before.
- When the potatoes are just tender, remove the baking parchment, and add the ribbons of chard. It may seem like a lot of chard but it will wilt quite quickly. Add the chard in batches if necessary.
- Replace the lid, and cook for 5 mins. When the chard starts to wilt, remove the lid, and stir it in to combine.
- Replace the lid for a further 5 mins.
- Remove the lid and add the lemon juice.
- Cook for a further 5-8 mins. without the cover, stirring regularly to avoid burning or sticking.
- This will drive off any excess liquid. You want the wilted chard to cling to the chunks of potato.
Serve immediately with rice, flatbreads,
coconut yogurt and chutney.
Mango chutney is particularly good as it adds a lovely sweetness.