food talk
Glorious greens
Pushpesh Pant

There is something about colour green — the hue lowers the temperature several degrees the moment it strikes the eye. And the first refreshing spoonful that touches the palate reassures the diner that this indeed is the nourishment body requires in debilitating summer. Mint and coriander are literally lifesavers when mercury climbs upwards in a threatening manner. Raita fortified with bathua was a part of the traditional repertoire. What we tend to overlook is how the leafy greens can come to our rescue when the sun is scorching. We were reminded of this when a celebrity chef we were eating out with ordered just a bowlful of stir-fried Chinese greens with steamed rice and radiated sheer beatitude as he devoured what he described as a sublime meal. Light, refreshing and deeply satisfying. We couldn’t resist the temptation to steal more than a mouthful with our slippery pair of chopsticks. We must confess the ‘sweet ’n’ sour’ mush on our own plate appeared and tasted quite revolting after that. We learnt from the ‘pro’ that it’s not difficult to replicate the recipe at home with Indian ‘emeralds’. Pak Choi or Morning Glory are not indispensible — any spinach or cabbage you fancy can make do. The important thing is not to overcook the vegetable and go slow with the spices cellar. Let us reassure you — the glorious greens make a great light lunch paired with steamed rice or a phulka. What a joy it is to rediscover the flavour of garlic and the tang of lime juice not to forget the green chilli!

Spinach/Pak Choi/ Morning Glory 300 g
Garlic cloves (chopped) 3-4
Lemon juice 1 tsp
Green chillies (deseeded) two
Oil 1 tsp
Soy sauce 1 tsp

Clean and wash well the vegetables. Plunge in boiling water for a minute and refresh immediately in very cold water. Heat oil in a flat karahi/wok and stir-fry garlic for 30 seconds. Drain excess water from the greens and put these in the karahi/ wok. Add chillies, soy sauce and lemon juice. Stir-fry on high flame for a minute and you are done! We mean the greens. Enjoy.