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Magic of microgreens

Tiny versions of their adult counterparts, these greens pack a punch of good health and crunch

Magic of microgreens


Bindu Gopal Rao

They are making the salads crunchier. They are tasty and they are healthy. Microgreens are in. These young vegetable greens are smaller than baby greens and are harvested later than sprouts. They are typically used for garnishing, but can also be eaten as salads due to their crunchy, tasty flavours that can range from sweet to spicy!

Myriad uses

There are many things one can do with micro- greens. “A salad of these little plants is wonderful. They can add both beautiful colour and delicate flavour to your dishes. Microgreens also offer an easy way to augment simple dishes like egg or potato. They work very well as a stuffing for chapattis and paranthas,” says Chef Mukhtar Qureshi from Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai. One could add these to a pizza, pasta or sandwich too. “You can also simply blend them to make dips, dressings and sauces. They are rated highly for their nutrient value, but can be used to serve as culinary eye candy too byputting them on a canapé, for example! But you have to remember to wash them thoroughly and keep in chilled water to maintain the freshness,” says Sheriyar Dotivala, executive chef at The Resort, Mumbai.

Microgreens may be eaten raw, juiced or blended, and can be fused into a variety of cold and warm dishes. “They can be combined into a variety of dishes, including sandwiches, wraps and salads. Microgreens may also be mixed into smoothies or juiced. Wheatgrass juice is a common example of a juiced microgreen,” says chef Naved Patel, food stylist and restaurant consultant.

Chef Anahita N. Dhondy says there is a common misconception that they can only be used as garnishes.

“I have made an Asian salad with sunflower crisp, which is basically sunflower leaves. They have a beautiful texture — velvety and nutty. One can make full-fledged salads and dishes with pesto or even make sautéed greens with it,” she says.

The health angle

Microgreens have higher levels of nutrients than mature vegetables and undergo more photosynthesis than sprouts, thus developing more nutrients, up to 40 times more than their fully-grown counterparts.

The growing popularity has ensured there are a variety of microgreens at our disposal today. These include Swiss chard, arugula, alfalfa, nasturtium, purple kohlrabi, sango radish, sunflower, pink radish and kale. “Arugula microgreens are one of the best for boosting immunity and maintaining cholesterol levels. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin C and other nutrients such as sulforaphane, which has multiple health benefits,” says Keya Salot, founder of Farm2Fam.

Chef Prateek Sadhu says what’s best is that they are easy to grow and can be harvested much sooner than their elderly counterparts.

Avocado Toast

Ingredients

  • 2 toasts
  • 2 tbsp avocado paste
  • 2 tsp feta cheese
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Red radish for garnishing
  • 2 tsp pomegranate seeds
  • Microgreens
  • Lemon zest, a pinch

Method

  • Spread avocado paste on toast.
  • In a piping bag, put feta cheese and put on the toast.
  • Sprinkle black pepper.
  • Add the lemon zest.
  • Garnish with red radish, pomegranate and microgreens.

Courtesy: Chef Tarun Sibal | Cofounder, One Fine Meal

DIY

Microgreens can be conveniently grown at home. All you need is soil or cotton, a container, sunlight (ideally for 6-8 hours a day) and a few good quality seeds. “I use moist cotton as a base instead of mud and ensure that the cotton stays moist all the time by spraying it with water. The seeds sprout in a week and have to be kept in a cool and dry place. Avoid excessive watering the soil as this will not allow them to grow well,” says Chef Jerson Fernandes. Chef Aanal Kotak adds, “Microgreens are very easy to grow on a small scale and can also be grown indoors where less of sunlight is available. It usually takes two to three weeks to harvest the microgreens. While growing this, you have to take care to keep the soil moist as much as possible which will give good results.” Seems worth a try, doesn’t it?

Greek Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2-3 medium cucumbers, removed the seeds
  • 3 tomatoes
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup green olives
  • 1tsp olive oil
  • A bunch of microgreens
  • ½ oregano
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper
  • 6-7 walnuts

Method

  • Toss the tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumbers and olives together in a deep medium bowl.
  • Also add olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper and toss well.
  • Now add your crumbled feta cheese and toss very gently.
  • Cover this bowl with a plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours.
  • Before serving add some fresh and healthy microgreens into the salad.
  • And at the end, add some walnuts for a crunchy bite.

Courtesy: Shaurvya Veer Kapoor | Corporate Chef, Café Hawker’s


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