June 25, 2007

Collard Greens w/ Red Beans Thoran

A vegetable item is a must on my lunch and dinner table. Sounds uncharacteristic coming from a seemingly non-veg oriented blog right?:)But it's true..a meal with just multiple non-veg items makes me uncomfortable and yearn for something green and crunchy for balance. Not potatoes or veg curries, plain old vegetables.

My mom was relating stories of olden days in her mom's house where vegetable were always present, not just as thorans but in exotic combinations with specific menus. Some were kaya-payar mezhukuparatti(plantains with string beans), padavalange-parippu(snake gourd with lentils), spicy okra thottukootan, cheera thoran,muringya ela thoran(leaves of the drumstick plant) payar ela thoran(leaves of the string beans)etc. Of course, we are not as stringent with the combinations now, happily adapting to the local produce instead.

So recently when I tasted a combination of collard greens and vanpayar(red beans), brought home by my better half from a mallu restaurant (more like a thattukada or dhaba)near his office here, it was intriguing. An American vegetable converted into such a mallu taste! So I had to try and recreate it at home.

Collard greens is slightly bitter and rough leaf, local to the US market, available in plenty here. The central stem needs to be removed, it takes longer to cook, and has a pronounced rough texture. As a thoran(stirfry), it is acceptable as the addition of coconut and garlic renders it different but the addition of the beans gave it a pleasing texture. I have tried both red beans and black eyed beans and though both are good, red beans being smaller is better. This can be tried with any green that is made into a thoran, such as kale, Swiss chard, cheera etc but vary the cooking time accordingly.

You will need:
1/2 bunch of Collard Greens
Red Beans(vanpayar)-1/4 cup
Shallots- 2 sliced
Whole Dried Red Chilies-1 or 2
Green chilies- 4 or 5 chopped
Turmeric- 1/4 tsp
Garlic- 2 cloves
Coconut- 1/4 cup.
Salt to taste
Oil- 1 tbsp

1. Soak the greens in lots of water for 5-10 minutes to get rid of the sand. Wash it well under running water. Let it drain thoroughly. Optional, mop up excess water with paper towels. Remove the central thick stem and chop the leaves finely.
2. Cook the red beans with double the water and 1/2 tsp salt in a pressure cooker for 1-2 whistles. It should be just cooked and not over cooked and smashed. (Use your judgement on how much time it would take in a cooker.)
3. Pulse the coconut, chilies and garlic together without water in a dry grinder till it looks scrambled.
4. Heat the oil in a pan and add the shallots and red chilies torn into pieces. Fry till the shallots turns translucent and then add the greens, salt and turmeric. Keep the pan covered on low heat for about 10 minutes to cook the collard greens. They take longer to cook than regular greens so check the pan after 5 minutes and add water by spoonfuls if needed.
5. Open and cook uncovered on medium flame for 5-7 minutes till all the water evaporates. Make a well in the middle of the leaves and add the coconut mix and the cooked beans. Mix thoroughly and adjust salt. Serve with rice.


Bharathy said...

First to comment..:)..
Nice to see you with greens.Yes,of course doesnt blend when these recipes come from you..
Good to note that you are veggie craver..after all world is currently turning vegan :)...still I am a lover of non-veg..

bee said...

shaheen, are these the same payar we use in olan sometimes? red cowpeas?

Nabeela said...

I eat meat perhaps once a week or sometimes fortnightly....so the cravings for vegetables are totally undserstandable...although in my case those cravings happen on an almost daily basis, and my husband is not too happy about that ;)
I've used collard greens before in dals and liked its taste...a stir fry sounds good too.

indosungod said...

Shaheen I cook Collard Greens once in a way but always add them to Dal or cook them like Sambhar but this thoran looks tasty and different. I think the black eyed peas that you mention here is the thatta payar.

Anonymous said...

another green one....
well trust mallus to start thattukada in US...

Anonymous said...

Looks very interesting - but being the other side of the world - have no clue what collard greens are!!

btw - my lunch box today has something that looks very similar to your snap - drumstick leaves and dal thoran :-)

Asha (simon)

Jyothsna said...

Nice combo of greens and beans :)Are these the olan beans?

Mallugirl said...

Bharathy,i am more of a vegan than u think!
Bee.. yeah, these are the olan beans.

Nabee, i too need veggies daily!! ur poor hubby!:)
collard greens in dal is ok but this is crunchier.

Indo,how do u add the leaves to sambhar? ok, i guess thatta payar is the same but in ur photo the beans look smaller.

Ki, reminds me of the old chayakada on the moon jokes.. remember Madha? this is similar.

Asha, envy ur drumstick leaves.. these collard greens are just substitutes,, don't worry u can try with any leaves there nad they will taste better!

Jyo, yep, they are the olan beans.. i am sure u must had a similar thoran sometime. DO try.

Sig said...

My mom made a collard greens thoran yesterday too.... :) without the red beans, but it was yummy.... she is in love with these greens... I will tell her about the beans addition... the taste of collard greens reminded me of muringa ila thoran...

Bharathy said...

Yes,Shaheen,Vanpayar is the mallu name for Thattapayir...and tamilians make cheera sambhar as well.Unlike mallus tamilians make sambhar adding jus one veg..I discovered this after I got mrrd..each sambhar has a unique taste..
In kerala I was so used to having Sambhar with a combo of veggies(I still love that)with cocnut..here it's diff..
Collard green might make an excellent combo with Dal..y dont you give a try if you love greens???

deena said...

very nice mallu girl..makes it healthy having veggie & pulses.i was wondering what to do with olan payar ..now i have a choice.thanks

Sandeepa said...

There is a good mallu restaurant in NJ ? which one do you sugest ?

Jyothsna said...

Btw, I forgot to ask, what are collard greens??? Green cheera?? I've had spinach, cheera, muringa ila, methi....but never seen collards. I need some educating here :)

Mallugirl said...

sig, :) the red beans adds achange in texture. i never liked the taste of collard greens (as they make it with chicken stock)till i made it into a thoran.

Deena, do try. and let me know..

Bharathy,i do make dal with greens but not as sambhar.

Sandeepa.. mallu restaurant.. the one my hub goes to is in Montvale and is more like a dhaba. they are more for catering. There is one called kerala kitchen in flushing,ny.

jyo, i wrote to u..

priar's, said...

ur dish looks yummy.Hmmm....collard greens...sounds new to me it is available in indian shops....Want to try it out soon.

Poonam said...

This looks so attractive. I will surely try this recipe.

Prema Sundar said...

collard greens with thatta payar looks lovely Shaheen. I make grens with either thoor dal or moong dal .. this is new to me . thanks for sharing.

Mallugirl said...

Priar,I don't think it is available in indian stores.. more seen in US supermarkets..

Poonam, Thanks for stopping by and hope u try the recipe.

Prema, this is probably similar to one of your poriyal. u would like it.:)_

DEEPA said...

yeah this is a healthy one ....good to hear going to veggee's ....thoran looks perfect ...

pritya said...

Hi Shaheen, The dish looks amazing and most inviting.. Would be trying it out soon. I always like the combo of greens and lentils. And it is interesting to see how different states and every house adds that unique twist to it. Hope I find fresh collard greens!