Beans and greens, Homestead Style.

Beans and greens, Homestead Style.

Another find at this week’s farmer’s market was Malabar Spinach. I had never seen this green before, but I was drawn in by the big, thick, dark green leaves. Farmer Ed told me that it isn’t a true spinach, but that it has a unique taste that is similar to spinach and it can be used in place of spinach. The big meaty leaves looked perfect for stuffing with a mixture of ricotta, vegan sausage, and pesto, so I bought a bag intending to do just that to it.

But then I’ve also had beans-n-greens on the brain a lot, and when a quick Googling taught me that Malabar Spinach comes from southeast Asia, I started thinking about using it in a coconut milk curry along with chickpeas, a tomato, and a Vidalia onion I had left over from last week. It turned out very well, and we all agreed that the Malabar Spinach has its own unique flavor that is not as “dark” as most dark leafy greens, and a texture that is more buttery than spinach.

This recipe is crafted for young children, so it is not spicy hot. I add heat at the table with sri racha, but you can add heat into the curry by including a hot pepper added with the onion or a dash of cayenne added with the spices. You can substitute regular spinach for the Malabar Spinach if you can’t find any near you.

Malabar Spinach Curry
serves 4

  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 small onion, diced or sliced
  • 1 large tomato, cored and diced
  • 4 cups sliced Malabar Spinach (about 10 big leaves)
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tbs canola oil
  • 1 tsp ghee (optional)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp dried ginger (or used 2 tsp fresh minced)
  • 1 pinch hing (optional)
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • salt to taste
  1. Prepare all vegetables and have them waiting next to the stove.
  2. Heat oil and ghee in a wok until very hot. Add garlic (and fresh ginger if using) and fry just until you can smell it cooking, which should take less than 30 seconds. Immediately add dried spices and stir, cooking until you can smell their aromas, which may take as little as 10 seconds. Immediately add the onion and stir to coat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium high and cook the onion, stirring often, until it starts to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add tomato, chickpeas, and coconut milk, and bring to a boil.
  4. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the tomato goes mushy (about 10 minutes). About 5 minutes into the simmer, add salt to taste.
  5. Add sliced Malabar Spinach, and stir in. Cook just until wilted, 2-3 minutes.
  6. Serve with rice and fresh fruit.
These leaves are so big and inviting I'll have to get more to stuff next week.

These leaves are so big and inviting I'll have to get more to stuff next week.