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weedy garlic bed

Think I need to weed harvest the greens in the garlic bed?

I did.

And made this from the weeding.

indian meal

With the help of many other ingredients, ha!

Seriously, with the greens, I made this,

chole saag

This is an Indian dish called “Chole Saag.” Chole means chickpeas and saag means spinach. It makes a perfect vegan meal, complete if served with rice or bread.

TG,  who prefers non-meat dishes, likes this. She wasn’t always crazy about curries, but is now beginning to appreciate them.

Since I made mine with lamb’s quarters instead of spinach, I don’t know if it qualifies as Chole Saag. It tastes very similar otherwise.

Lamb’s quarters (Chenopodium album) are, of course, very common weeds. They’re related to quinoa and orach. I grew the latter, the purple kind, a few years back. Then I realized I already had something similar growing all over in my garden, only they were green, with white powder on them, and not so pretty. But prettiness is not required for steamed or boiled greens, because they all end up looking the same. A mess of greens.

The only thing to worry about lamb’s quarters is their oxalic acid and saponins contents, although in small quantities unlikely to be harmful, according to Plants for a Future. Boiling them for a few minutes, then draining and rinsing them, will remove most of it. There’s also a coat of white powder on their leaves, almost waxy in feel. Again, boiling and rinsing seem to make it disappear. If you’re not convinced, boil and rinse a second time.

Lamb’s quarters also go by the name goosefoot, fat-hen, and pigweed. In some countries, notably India, they are grown as vegetables. They’re nutritious; the leaves give you vitamins A and C, folate, iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium . The seeds are also nutritious, containing protein, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. I haven’t tried the seeds yet. They seem fiddly to harvest since they’re so small.

lamb's quarter
Give lamb’s quarters a try and let me know what you think.

chole saag 2
Chole Saag

Ingredients:
A bunch of spinach or lamb’s quarters, roughly chopped. (Blanch lamb’s quarters in boiling water for 3 minutes, if using, then drain, rinse, and chop, before adding to the cooking pot.)
1 can garbanzo beans, drained of liquid
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
2 medium plum tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp garam masala or curry powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 cup chicken stock or water
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Method:
1. Heat olive oil on medium-high heat, in a skillet or sauce pan.
2. Add onion, garlic, and ginger. Sauté until onion is translucent.
3. Add tomatoes. Cook for 1-2 minutes until tomatoes start to break down.
4. Add chickpeas and garam masala/curry powder and stir to distribute the spices evenly.
5. Add ½ cup stock or water. Let simmer for a few minutes.
5. Add chopped greens. Add the rest of the stock. Simmer for a few more minutes, or until greens are soft.
6. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Served with basmati rice or Indian flat bread for a complete vegan meal. Serves 4.

I made Chicken Tikka Masala for the carnivores. Unfortunately I had to use store-bought sauce, out of convenience. It’s Friday and I have dinner & a movie with Sabo (read: Redbox rental in the family room, dinner’s on me), so I didn’t have much time for an involved cooking session. So, no recipe, sorry …

Update: Turned out it was correct, after all, calling the dish Chole Saag, because “saag” can be any greens. Chole Palak, meanwhile, has to have garbanzo and spinach. Thanks, Tacksamhet, for enlightening us.

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