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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rainbow Chard Stir Fry

I made this in spring which now seems a long time ago, with the temperatures soaring. I had the radio switched on one morning while driving and I heard the most wonderful description of fresh green vegetables cropping up in spring. It signified the end of winter and beginning of spring. They ended the radio segment with a mouth watering commentary on a simple recipe made using greens like chard, collard greens and spinach. That five minute description of freshly harvested greens inspired me to visit the local farmer's market that very weekend. I foudn the most gorgeoud rainbow chard. The reason why it's called rainbow chard, is that the stems of the leaves are very colorful - a bright red and yellow with green leaves (the colors are so bright and pretty that I couldn't resist putting up all the different photos I took of the vegetable).

Now, this was the first time I was to prepare rainbow chard and my mother's words came back to me on the basic principles of preparing green vegetables. "Use red chillies and garlic and any green vegetable will taste wonderful". I was glad that I heeded her advice as the recipe turned out great. I now have another addition to my green vegetable list!




Ingredients
1 tbsp oil
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 bunch of rainbow chard - about 3-4 leaves. Chop the green leafy part in chiffonade style, into thin ribbons. Cut the stems into small pieces and keep them aside
2-3 dried red chillies (adjust amount to taste)
salt to taste
1 lemon for garnish






Method
Heat the oil and add the garlic. Once the garlic starts to turn a light golden, add the red chillies and the stems.  Stir well and let the stems cook for a few minutes till they look a little tender. You can cover the pan, so that the stems will cook faster. Next add the green leaf ribbons into the pan and stir. Let this cook till the leaves wilt. If the chard is tender, the leaves will cook pretty quickly. You can cover the pan if needed. Next, add salt and stir. Turn off the heat and squeeze a little lemon on top of the cooked vegetable. Serve as a side or eat with hot rotis.





Tips
Let the stems cook through paritally and become soft before adding the greens. The stems are fibrous and will take a longer time than the greens. If you add them both together, you will end up overcooking the green leafy party. The easiest method to detect if the stems and leaves are cooked to the desired level, is to taste it. If it is difficult to chew or too fibrous let it cook for a few more minutes. This preparation tastes good with a little bit of crunch rather than cooking it till mushy.

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