Swiss chard (or simply chard) is a delicious leafy green vegetable that is commonly eaten throughout Europe, especially along the Mediterranean. There are several varieties of chard in which the stems may vary in colors that range from pure white to deep red. Swiss chard is both healthy & nutritious; they are a rich source of dietary fiber, minerals, iron, protein and Vitamins A, K and C. Swiss chard is also thought to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory & bone healing properties.
My Swiss Chard Dal is a great way to introduce this super healthy & delicious vegetable into your family’s diet. Any variety of chard will work in this recipe. Now I have decided to use yellow moong dal (skinned & split variety) in my recipe but feel free to use chana dal (skinned & split Bengal gram dal), toor dal (arhar dal, skinned & split yellow pigeon peas) or masoor dal (skinned & split orange masoor dal) instead.
SWISS CHARD DAL
1½ cups yellow moong dal (skinned & split variety)
½ tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
4-6 fresh curry leaves
3-4 small green Thai chilies, slit in half lengthwise, to taste
pinch of asafetida (hing)
½ tsp turmeric (haldi)
½ tsp red chili powder, to taste
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1½ tsp kala or goda masala (you may use garam masala as a substitute)
salt & pepper, to taste
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
1 large bunch Swiss chard, finely chopped (I used the red stem variety)
1 tsp tamarind concentrate or paste
½ tsp jaggery (gul), to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil (or you can use vegetable or canola oil)
¼ cup freshly grated coconut for garnish
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a large pot, combine the moong dal with enough water to cover by at least 2 inches. Bring to a good boil, cover & let simmer for about 30-45 minutes or until done. The dal should be completely tender but not mushy. Set aside and let cool until needed. Alternatively, you could also make the moong dal in a pressure cooker.
Meanwhile in a saucepan on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, carefully add the black mustard seeds. When the splattering stops, reduce the heat and add the cumin seeds along with the curry leaves, green chilies and the asafetida. Next, add in the spices (turmeric, red chili powder, ground coriander powder, kala masala, salt & pepper). Stir well & let cook for a few minutes. Next, add in the aromatics (onions, garlic & ginger). Sauté until the onions are just lightly browned. Then carefully add the cooked moong dal along with any cooking water. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients. If the dal is a bit too thick, add a little water as needed. The consistency should not be too thick or too watery. Then, using the back of a large spoon or ladle, slightly mash the dal against the sides of the pot. This will give you a nice creamy consistency.
Stir well to combine and add the Swiss chard, tamarind & jaggery. Reduce the heat to low, bring to a gentle boil & let simmer for 8-10 minutes until all the flavors have mingled. Garnish with freshly grated coconut & freshly chopped cilantro leaves, serve with fresh chapatis & Basmati rice.
Try adding a little freshly chopped garlic to the hot oil along with the green chilies, curry leaves and asafetida. Try adding some desiccated coconut to the dal; dry roast the coconut first in a dry skillet and then add it to the dal during the cooking process along with the tamarind and jaggery.