Thursday, August 6, 2009
Eat Your Lawn!
There was a very fancy Chinese restaurant in Beverly Hills . One of the specialties was referred to as "fried greens". All the beautiful people would practically line up to make reservations and order the "fried greens". A secret recipe, they never told anybody what it was. Then one day someone mentioned how every Friday all the Beverly Hills Gardeners trucks could be seen backing up to the rear entrance of the restaurant. They were feeding the movers and shakers of Hollywood their own lawns and changing them big time for it.
You may have something very valuable in your yard too and not even know it. It's called purslane.
Purslane is a plant that's native to India. In fact it's native to just about everywhere else on the planet where it's considered a tasty vegetable. Here... not so much. So what have we been missing out on all these years? A fabulous nutritious alternattive to spinach.In India purslane goes by several names and is considered in ayuvedic medicine to be good for the liver..heck, it's probably even great with liver..but that's neither here nor there. It's called paruppu keerai in Tamil. Eaten raw or cooked it's a lemony, tasty succulent that just happens to be high in iron and other vitamins and the big bonus is it contains more Omega 3 fatty acids than any land based plant, and almost as much as is found in fish, and a pound of purslane is a lot cheaper, than a pound of salmon. I bought a big bunch at our local farmers market from Triple T Organic Ranch and Farm for a buck 50!
One of my favorite Indian Chefs is Atul Kochhar . His restaurant Benares in London is Michelin starred and his cookbook "Indian Essence" lets you bring it all back home. He has a wonderful recipe for Sauteed Water Chestnuts with Watercress. It's a very simple easy recipe that works with both Indian and non Indian meals. I very frequently make it with Sonomas' abundant arugula it also works well with spinach. or watercress. The other day I tried it with purslane and it was wonderful! If you can get fresh waterchestnuts for this do. They peel and slice as easily as carrots, and are tasty and crunchy. Of course canned are always available if you can't find fresh.
To start off.
1.) Rinse and drain 1 lb of purslane Remove the tender leaves from the stems. Toss or compost the stems, we won't be using them in this dish.
2.)heat about 1 Tbs of oil in a wok or Indian kadhi..or of couse a nice deep skillet if that's what you've got.
3.)When the oil is hot add 1/2 tsp of black onion seeds.
4.) 1/4 tsp of fennel seeds.
stir them around till they sizzle.
5.) Add 2 cloves of garlic or 2 shallots peeled and crushed.
6.) sauteed them until they're a light brown color.
7.)Toss in your water chestnuts and stir them around for 1 minute
8.)Add 1/4 tsp of turmeric
9.) add 1/4 tsp of kashmiri chili powder. If you don't have this you can apporximate it by combing about a pinch of cayanne with 1/8 tsp of paprika.
10.) Add your purslane leaves and 1/2 tsp of salt to the pan and cook until it just wilts.
11.) Serve it right away. You don't want to keep this sitting around. You most likely won't be able to, it's that good!
If you're in our area and want to know more about Triple T Ranch and Farm
6265 Melita Road
Santa Rosa, CA