Broccoli Rabe (also known as Rapini) is an Italian leafy green vegetable that’s high in iron and also Vitamins A, C and K. While it has a slightly bitter taste, broccoli rabe is a personal favorite of mine. Although very uncommon in Indian cuisine, I created this simple recipe that combines this delicious and earthy Italian green with fragrant Indian spices and aromatics.
Broccoli rabe is widely available but feel free to use any leafy green of your choice. Once cooked, there is no bitter taste in the final dish due to the addition of green peas which helps to offset any bitterness.
BROCCOLI RABE, Indian style
1 large bunch of broccoli rabe (washed and trimmed), roughly chopped
1 medium onion, finely diced
1” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
3-4 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp urad dal, split and skinned
pinch of asafetida (hing)
1 cup green peas (frozen is fine)
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin powder
½ tsp ground coriander powder
pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
2 tbsp oil, vegetable or canola
freshly chopped cilantro for garnish
In a deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, carefully add the black mustard seeds. When the splattering subsides, add the cumin seeds and urad dal. Stir the spices and add the asafetida. When the urad dal starts to slightly brown, add the onions and stir. Let the onions brown slightly and add the ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir and let cook until aromatic and then add the rest of the spices (turmeric, ground cumin powder, ground coriander powder, salt & pepper). Stir and let the spices cook for a minute or so and add the green peas. After another minute or two, start adding the broccoli rabe. Keep stirring until the greens are covered in the spices. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let look for 5-6 minutes. Garnish and serve with fresh chapatis and fragrant Basmati rice.
You could also add some potatoes to this dish as well. Just add the diced potato directly after adding all of the spices. Let the potatoes cook for 4-5 minutes before adding the green peas. You could also use corn instead of the green peas if you prefer.
Another great addition to this dish would be paneer cubes. Gently brown paneer cubes in a little oil until golden on all sides. Add them at the very end of the cooking process after you have added the broccoli rabe and follow the recipe above as directed.