One of my cousins was married to a Kashmiri gentleman, and for the period when he was working at the United Nations in New York he had brought along a manservant. My cousin let me have him once a week to cook and clean. His repertoire was limited—he could only cook dishes he had learned from my cousin, such as this simple Kashmiri staple, which we loved. Soon he was making it week after week, and it remains one of our favorites. In Kashmir, collard-type greens and rice are eaten as commonly as beans and rice in Central America, the season for them lasting from spring (when the greens are tender) until the snows start to fall in early winter (when the greens get coarser).
Note: Young greens will cook faster. So if you are using them, start with half the stock and add more if needed.
Serve with rice and either a dal or a meat curry.
1 3/4 pounds collard greens
3 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1/8 teaspoon ground asafetida
3 dried hot red chilies (the short cayenne type)
2 cups chicken stock or water
1.Wash the collard greens and then remove their stems and coarse central veins. Stack 6-7 leaves on top of each other and roll them up lengthways. Cut crossways to get 1/2 -inch ribbons. Now cut lengthways to get 1/2 -inch pieces.
2.Pour the oil into a large pot and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the asafetida and the chilies. As soon as the chilies darken, a matter of seconds, take the pan off the heat briefly to add the greens and the stock. Put the pan back on the heat and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to medium low, and cook 30-40 minutes or until greens are tender.
3.Remove cover and taste. Seasoned stock may require only 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add what is needed. Turn the heat to medium high and boil away most of the liquid. If you are eating the greens with rice, you may want to save some extra juice to moisten it adequately.
Excerpted from "At Home with Madhur Jaffrey" by Madhur Jaffrey. Copyright © 2010 by Madhur Jaffrey. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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