Monday, January 31, 2011

Eat your Greens!

Hamli (Sauteed Greens) from Bsrat M. on Vimeo.

I grew up in a household where meat or chicken was never the star at the table – just a complement to the vegetable dishes that were more plentiful. And Eritrean cuisine in particular, features tons of vegetable and legume dishes.

However, as a youngster during summer trips to Eritrea, I used to have a hard time eating as a guest in people’s homes. Guests are traditionally honored with several courses of meat, meat, chicken, and more meat. And with each course that appeared, I would be hoping that someone would bring out something green.

Of course, for a traditional Eritrean host, serving meat is the highest compliment. However, I am going to make sure to serve up tons of vegetarian recipes in this blog. For the next two posts, I’ll present recipes on how to make Eritrean sautéed vegetables. This first post will present hamli, or sautéed greens, and the second will present alicha, or vegetables sautéed with turmeric.

Hamli is ridiculously easy to make. And as sautéed greens are really a universal dish, you don’t need any suggestions about how to serve it.

I’m a little picky about my greens. Some Eritreans use collard greens, but I find its flavor a bit strong. I also find spinach a bit too watery. I prefer swiss chard or kale, which holds up to cooking temperatures better than spinach, but has a more pleasant flavor than other greens. Of course, please feel free to use whatever you prefer.

Hamli (Sautéed Greens)
(Serves 4)

2 lbs of swiss chard
1 medium onion, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 jalepeno pepper, quartered
vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Rinse the swiss chard thoroughly and remove any brown or damaged pieces. Cut off the stems, but leave the spines intact. Pat dry.
  2. Chop the swiss chard into bite-size pieces and set aside.
  3. Cook the onions covered over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil and continue to cook covered until the onions become translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute or two, or until the garlic softens, but doesn’t burn.
  4. Add the swiss chard and cook covered until it becomes tender, probably for 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent any ingredients from sticking.
  5. Right before the swiss chard is finished, add the jalepeno pepper and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Let cook covered for about a minute or two longer and remove from heat.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I am very impressed after reading through parts of your blog. With your cooking skills I think you could be interested in this competition I have found. You cook your national dish and then you have the opportunity to win an iPad mini or money. It could also be a good chance for you to let more people know about your blog since you will be shown on their homepage and in a cookbook!
    Here's the presentation about the competition:
    Competition: Win iPad or Money
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    I hope you will be win..