Aloo Chard (Potatoes with Chard)

We’ve had a huge number of tomatoes from our Early Girl plant, and we’ve been trying to figure out what to do with them. Curry vegetables can always use tomatoes, so that was our first idea. We also had quite a bit of chard from our garden, and wanted to use it before the rabbits got to it. And we also had harvested a couple of cayenne peppers. Traditionally, potatoes are cooked with spinach, but I thought chard would be fun. The stems on chard are so crunchy, and rainbow chard is so pretty! So we cooked the potatoes with chard instead.

You need: 4-5 medium potatoes; 4-5 medium tomatoes; 1 big bunch chard (10-15 leaves); 1 medium red onion; 1-2 hot peppers such as cayenne, or other green chilies to taste; 1/2 tsp garam masala; 1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds); 2 tbsp oil; salt to taste. Oh, and a rather large pot to cook it in.

How to:

1. Cut the potatoes, onions, and tomatoes (separately) into 1/2″ pieces.

2.Slice open the peppers and discard the seeds.

3. Heat the oil. Add the cumin and chili peppers.

4. Add the onions and stir.

5. After about 1-2 minutes, add the potatoes. Stir and cover.

6. Stir occasionally. If it sticks to the bottom, add 1/4 cup water.

7. Wash the chard. Cut the stems into 1/2″ pieces and the leaves into long ribbons. Keep them separate and set aside.

8. Add the tomatoes, salt, garam masala, and chard stems to the potatoes. Stir well and cover.

9. When the potatoes are almost done (softened but not mushy), and the tomatoes are mushy, add the chard leaves. Like so: add a handful, stir in, let them wilt, add another handful, and so on until you’ve used them all up.

10. Cover and cook until the potatoes are done.

Eat hot over rice, bread, or with roti or naan.

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Yesterday rice mixup

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Sometimes you have rice left over. Sometimes there’s just three vegetables in the fridge, and none of them the same kind. What do you do? Rice mixup!

I tried this for dinner today, and it was pretty damn good. I love red chard.

You need: 1 cup cooked brown rice; 1 bunch red chard; 1 big onion; 1 red bell pepper; 2 small yellow squashes; oil; 1 bay leaf; and to taste: salt, crushed red pepper (chili flakes), oregano, thyme, rosemary.

How to: chop the vegetables. Heat oil, add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the pepper and cook another 3-4 minutes. Add the squash and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add everything else and stir well. Cover and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and mix the rice in with the vegetables.

Chard rice

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Okay, you can really use whatever greens you like. Many similar recipes call for spinach, but how boring, so I used red chard instead. I suppose you could call this spinach rice with a major twist.

You need: 1 bunch red chard; 1 cup brown rice; 1/2 cup finely sliced onion; 1 tsp ginger paste (or finely chopped ginger); 1 tsp minced garlic; 1/8 cup slivered almonds.

For the masala: 2-3 cloves; 1 small stick cinnamon; 1 tsp coriander powder; 1 tsp cumin powder (ground cumin); 2 small bay leaves; 1/8 tsp nutmeg; 1/2 tsp turmeric; 1/2 tsp red chili powder; 1 tsp ground black pepper; 3 tbsp oil; salt to taste.

How to:

Cook the rice. Wash the chard well, drain, and finely chop it. Keep aside.

Heat the oil. Add the cloves, bay leaves, and cinnamon. Stir; give it about 2 minutes. Add the rest of the spices for the masala. Stir well, and be careful the oil doesn’t splutter all over you. Give it a couple of minutes.

Add the onions, ginger, and garlic. Add salt. Stir really well. When the onion is well-cooked, Add the chard a bit at a time. Stir well, and keep stirring occasionally. Cook for about ten minutes. The chard (or whatever greens you use) will really cook down.

In the interim, heat the oven to 300 F. Scatter the almonds in an over-proof pan and lightly coat (or spray) with vegetable oil. Toast in the oven for 10 minutes.

After cooking the chard for 10 minutes, take off heat. Add the cooked rice and mix well. Sprinkle the toasted almonds on top.

If you’re really in a hurry or just lazy: everything else stays the same, except use pre-packaged garam masala instead of this masala. Add it to the onions when they’re cooking. Skip the almonds. Use frozen chopped spinach.