Dig-In Meals – A column highlighting Indian spices in recipes that take traditional Indian food and add a western twist!
There is nothing quite like the hustle and bustle of a busy farmer’s market on a beautiful spring day. It’s so easy to get inspired by the rows of fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, local honey, and cheese. I love wandering through the stalls at my local farmer’s market in Newark, CA. Not only does it give me easy access to produce that is in season, picked at the peak of its flavor, with the shortest amount of travel time, but it’s the connection and conversation with the farmer and their kids that I enjoy the most.
Farmers will gladly tell you how they grew a tomato that tastes so divine or give you advice about the best way to prepare that giant bunch of green garlic (that I bought two of!) However, wandering around the market can get overwhelming. The abundance of produce is tempting, and sometimes we buy way more than we can consume in a week. So here are a few recipes using produce that is in season to jumpstart your meal plan.
Green Garlic Vegetable (Hare Lehsun Ki Sabzi)
- 4 small (new) potatoes
- 1 cup mixed veggies-optional (any that you have on hand. eg: carrots, beans, broccoli, small eggplants)
- 1 large bunch of garlic green or garlic chives. The more greens you have, the better garlic flavor you get.
- 1 tbsp. mustard or vegetable cooking oil
- 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 dry red chili, broken in half
- A pinch of asafetida powder
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp. chili powder (adjust to taste)
- Salt to taste
- Wash and cut potatoes into quarters
- Cube the rest of the mixed veggies (if using)
- Clean garlic green or garlic chives, picking out any damaged/dry leaves. Very tender stems can be left in. When cleaning the bulbs, remove any tough outer layers of skin.
- Wash well and chop finely.
- Heat oil in a wok or karahi.
- Add cumin seeds (jeera) and a pinch of asafetida (hing) powder. Once the seeds crackle, add the red chili and stir for a few seconds.
- Add potatoes/veggies, spices, salt, and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add garlic leaves/chives, stir and cook covered until all water is absorbed and potatoes are done. If the leaves are fresh and you cook on low/medium heat, no additional water will be required.
- Adjust salt and chilies, raise heat, and stir-fry until all the water is absorbed and the vegetable looks shiny. Turn heat off. Garnish with some raw garlic greens if desired.
Easy Pickled Radish
Great on just about everything, from sandwiches, tacos, chole, biryani.
- 15 average size radishes
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup warm water
- Slice radishes as thin as you can and place in a mason jar
- In a bowl, combine apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, and warm water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt.
- Pour the pickling mixture over the sliced radishes and let them set for an hour.
- Once cooled, cover and store in the fridge.
Toor (Pigeon Pea) Daal w/ Kale
You can use any greens here: fresh fenugreek/methi, spinach, arugula.
- 1 cup toor dal
- 4 cups water
- 1 bunch washed sliced kale or any greens you are using
- 1/2 tsp. canola oil or vegetable oil (ghee/clarified butter is preferred if you have it)
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp. finely minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp. coriander
- 1/2-1 tsp. red chili pepper
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp. asafetida/hing
- 1/8 tsp. garam masala (optional)
- salt to taste
- Cook the dal in the water until it is soft. (IP about 10 mins, natural release, stovetop about 35 mins or until soft and mushy.) Use a hand blender to completely puree the dal. Set aside.
- In a deep skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and the garlic, and cook for one minute. Add the ginger and kale and stir. Add one tablespoon of water and cover the pan. Stir every minute or so, and cook until the kale is wilted, about 4 minutes.
- Add the dal and remaining ingredients to the kale. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Optional tempering: Heat some oil in a small pan. Once hot add some jeera seeds, once they sputter add red chili powder and pour over the daal right before serving. Garnish with cilantro.
Mona Shah is a multi-platform storyteller with expertise in digital communications, social media strategy, and content curation for Twitter and LinkedIn for C-suite executives. A journalist and editor, her experience spans television, cable news, and magazines. An avid traveler and foodie, she loves artisan food and finding hidden gems: restaurants, recipes, destinations. She can be reached at: [email protected]