How To Use Kale In Your Diet, But Go Slowly
Whenever I post a kale recipe on Instagram, a common question is, “what is kale called in Hindi/Tamil?” There is no Indian name for kale; it is of European origin, grown there for over 2,000 years. You might imagine it’s a cabbage whose leaves haven’t formed a head, so maybe we could call it “pracheen patta gobhi”.
You might be wondering how kale has become a hipster food in recent years and has become a food trend almost everywhere in the world. It’s a lesson in food marketing. A story about the mindbodygreen The website explains how famed public relations guru Oberon Sinclair of New York spearheaded the campaign to glamorize kale and make it famous, through personalized T-shirts, celebrity endorsements, adding it to expensive salads and cool restaurant menus. To promote it at the national level, she even created the very official American Kale Association in 2013.
In recent years, kale has taken a firm hold among health conscious people in urban India. While you may laugh at it for being a woke hipster food, there’s no denying its health benefits. Kale belongs to the vegetable and cruciferous vegetable family that includes cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, arugula, broccoli, collard greens, and bok choy, all powerful cancer-fighting foods. According to studies, regular consumption of kale provides protection against estrogen receptor positive breast, uterine and ovarian cancers. It also facilitates detoxification processes in the liver, which neutralizes chemicals and toxins in food and the environment,
Keep a few points in mind. If you’re not used to a high-fiber diet, eating too much kale can cause bloating and discomfort, especially if eaten raw. Gradually increase the intake of kale. Tear off the leaves from the tough midrib. One option is to blanch the leaves in boiling water for two minutes, refresh them in ice water, squeeze them well and chop them finely. You can use the prepared cabbage in salads or curries.
Finely chopped cabbage leaves can also be mixed with extra virgin olive oil, salt and lemon juice. Massage the leaves well. Let stand for one hour. The lemon juice will partially “cook” the leaves, making them easier to digest. Chopped kale can also be added directly to the dal and pressure cooked.
Kale is a hardy plant that gives leaves throughout the year. It can be grown easily from seed in pots.
Pancakes with cruciferous vegetables
Kale, cauliflower and tofu pancakes with an extra dose of omega 3
For 2 to 4 people
10 kale leaves (any variety)
2 cups finely grated cauliflower
3 tablespoons ground flax seeds
A quarter cup of boiling water
100 g grated firm tofu
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons besan (gram flour)
2 green chillies, sliced
3-4 garlic cloves, grated
Half a teaspoon of grated ginger
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon of white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon of salt
Olive oil or butter for cooking
Strip the kale leaves from the midrib and chop them finely. Place chopped kale and shredded cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl. Add a little water, cover and cook over high heat for two minutes. Open the lid and let it cool. In a bowl, mix the ground flax seeds with boiling water. Whisk until frothy and let sit for two to three minutes. Once the cauliflower and flaxseed mixture has cooled, add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix well.
In a greased cast iron skillet or non-stick tava (griddle), ladle a ladle or two of batter and cook for about two minutes over medium heat until the bottom has golden flecks. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown. Excess batter can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and used within two days.
It is an excellent substitute for stuffed paratha for diabetics and low carbs. If you skip the besan, the pancakes may not hold their shape when flipped. It can be made into crumble or bhurji.
Kale Salad and Mixed Beans
2 tablespoons red kidney beans
2 tablespoons white beans
2 tablespoons of chickpeas
2 tablespoons green chana
10 kale leaves (any variety)
2 tablespoons finely chopped green pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Half teaspoon of cracked black pepper
1 tsp + extra salt
Soak the beans overnight then cook them under pressure in salted water over high heat. After a whistle, reduce the heat and cook under pressure for five minutes. Then drain the beans and set aside. Beans should not be boiled
To prepare the kale, strip the leaves from the midrib. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the leaves and simmer for two minutes. Remove the leaves with tongs and plunge into a bowl of ice water to retain the bright green color. Drain the leaves and squeeze well to remove all excess water. Finely chop the blanched kale.
In a large bowl, combine the dressing ingredients. Whisk until thick and creamy. Add the beans, kale, bell pepper and onion and toss well to evenly coat with the dressing. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for an hour or two before serving so the salad absorbs the flavors of the dressing.
Double Tested is a bi-monthly column on vegetarian cooking, highlighting a single ingredient prepared two ways. Nandita Iyer’s latest book is Everyday Superfoods. @saffrontrail
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