Wednesday, October 26, 2011

pathetically easy indian chard

"Use me, before I wilt!"
I regret to inform you that this recipe was not inspired by an Indian cookbook, Bollywood movies, or Ganesh, my favorite Hindu deity, but rather, by unabashed laziness and boredom. For the past week, a succulent bunch of rainbow chard from my CSA share had been screaming out to me each time I opened the 'fridge. I knew if I didn't use it soon, it would be wiltsville. So I set out to prepare the chard as I habitually do – sauteed with garlic and olive oil. Bored by my cooking rut, I peeked in my spice cupboard scanning the mountain of jars and plastic bags to see what magical ingredient might perk it up. Garam Masala: sweet, hot, spicy -- exactly what the doctor ordered. I quickly added some grated ginger to the saute, sprinkled the end result with Garam Masalaand a healthy, iron-packed – and pathetically easy side dish was born.

Indian Chard is great on its own, but better over basmati rice.

[Pathetically] Easy Indian Chard
  • 2 bunches of chard, stems removed and cut into 1-inch shards [Sorry, I couldn't resist]
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup water or broth
  • 2 tsp garam masala, or to taste
  • Salt to taste
Serves 4 as a side

Heat oil in a large, non-stick pan over medium. Add garlic and ginger and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add chard and saute until the color deepens, about 5-10 minutes, Stir in water or broth, cover and cook another 5 or so minutes or until soft and most of the liquid is evaporated. Stir in garam masala [Start with less. You can always add more.]. Salt to taste


VeganLisa said...


I just love reading your posts. You have such a lovely voice that even a simple recipe leaves me feeling inspired.


Fergus W. Clare said...

Hey Urban Vegan!

Your recipes are fantastic! Can't wait to try this one out. I have been wondering lately however about the real ecological impact of a vegan diet. With the rampant take off of organic farming practices and grass fed beef, I think a valid argument can be made that eating grass fed beef is good for the environment. What do you think? Check out my blog at with the posting Egalitarian or Vegetarian. I look forward to trying out more of your recipes.


Anne said...

Perfect for Diwali today! (just got an email from Amazon that Celebrate Vegan is on its way!)

urban vegan said...

VeganLisa: Aw....thanks!
Fergus:Disagree. Organic/grass-fed is slightly better than factory farms, but from my POV, it's still bad for the environment. Cows eat 16x more grain than the meat they yield.That's a lot of fossil fuels needed to both transport the meat and the grain. Plus one study says grass-raised beef results in 50% more greenhouse gases than FF beef! (They eat more grass, emit more methane and nitrous-oxide than they would if they were eating grain in a FF). One hectare of land growing potatoes can feed 22 people,& one hectare of beef can feed only one person, regardless of method. I'm an ethical veg, first & foremost, though.
Anne: Let me know how you like CV and what U make :)

Marcella Marsella said...

I also went through a chard recipe rut until I tried Deborah Madison's amazing "Braised Chard with Cilantro" found in "Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone." I found it here online: I can't wait to try your recipe with some cilantro added to the pot, and I'll be in chard heaven!

Andrea said...

I'm extremely attracted to Indian food, and "pathetically easy" makes it all the better.

Your answer to Fergus is spot on. Couldn't agree more. There is also the point that with the amount of meat consumption in the US, it's not really feasible to raise enough grass-fed beef to meet the need, so I hope Fergus is also proposing a drastic reduction in consumption.

Healthy Mama said...

This is great! I have garam masala, but I never used it, because I had no idea how!

jonimarie said...

I love red chard...only recently did I discover that the stems, which most people discard, are so tasty! This "pathetically easy recipe" is right up my alley, I can snack on the stems while it's cooking!

Michael@noflournosugardiet said...

Ah- so the multi-colored chard is called Indian, as opposed to Swiss?
IN any case, I've long been a fan, but getting my g/f to eat it is a challenge- she doesn't like veggies that are too 'fibrous.' but maybe over basmati - or brown? - rice would be the ticket...
Happy to have found your site- will be cking back for more. thanks!