I consider this dish a personal victory over two of my produce nemeses: mustard greens and lentil sprouts. I know that both of these vegetables are perfectly lovely and nutritious, but they gave me fits before I finally tamed them in this dish. Mustard greens and lentil sprouts are not inherently tricky to cook, I just didn’t grow up eating them and I didn’t have a clue about what do with them when I first got them in the Local Box.
However, the nutritional promise of these two ingredients has kept me trying to include them in our diet. Mustard greens have anti-inflammatory properties and tons of B vitamins– great for dealing with stress– and lentil sprouts have plenty of fiber. Over the past year of trial and error I’ve learned a few tricks for cooking these ingredients, and with tonight’s curry success, I feel confident sharing them. For mustard greens:
- Wash mustard greens really well before and after chopping to get rid of any grit. We use a salad spinner.
- Use recipes with bold flavors, like curries, to complement the strong flavor of the mustard greens.
- Chop the leaves in fine pieces before cooking them.
- Plan to cook mustard greens about twice as long as you would a milder winter green like spinach. This knocks out any toughness, even in the stems, and improves the final texture of the greens.
For lentil sprouts, I don’t have any preparation tips since most recipes call for the whole lentils in salad. Just wash ’em and go! I like sprout salads okay but my favorite way to eat lentil sprouts is to sneak them into spicy stews like this curry. They become very tender as they cook and fade into the background texture of the dish.
This particular curry came about after I experimented with several different recipes from around the internet: Jugalbandi’s Sprout Curry, Allrecipes’ Curried Mustard Greens, and Matthew Card’s Chickpea Dal. The final dish is a hybrid of all these, and it comes together in just about half an hour in the kitchen. I originally planned to add a full can of chickpeas to this recipe and decided against it when I ran out of room in my pot. However, they would have been a welcome addition (along with some extra liquid) if I had needed to stretch the recipe for an unexpected dinner guest.
Mustard Green & Lentil Sprout Curry (serves 4)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 bunch mustard green leaves, stems removed, chopped fine
1.5 cups lentil sprouts
15 oz. can stewed tomatoes
6 oz. can tomato paste
6 oz. water
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 cup light coconut milk
Chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish
In a large, lidded skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions, minced garlic and diced jalapeno and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients to the pot, except coconut milk and garnishes. Stirring constantly, cook until liquid comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. At the end of cooking, stir in coconut milk. Garnish curry with fresh cilantro or parsley and serve with rice, naan, or pita.