Last spring was memorable for many reasons. One of my favorite persons turned 50 and we wanted to be part of the celebrations, so we flew out to Massachusetts for the party. It soon turned into a working vacation and the intense hours at work were balanced by food, fun, friends and family. We returned home a couple of weeks later, late at night, feeling very content. I turned on the lights in the yard to peek outside and everything was a lush green. I went to sleep very happy that night.
The nightmare began the next morning when I realized that we had no grass. The green that I had seen was dandelions, more dandelions and even more dandelions. Our neighbors weren't particularly thrilled either. We bought weed pullers and yanked away till we only had holes for a yard. I bore the brunt of refusing to consider townhomes when we were house-hunting but I was so done with sharing walls and second-hand smoke. After a while we gave up doing things the Boulder way and I went and bought Weed-B-Gone and started spraying every dandelion cluster I saw.
Did I mention that I hate dandelions?
Yet, a couple of months later I ate dandelion greens sautéed in olive oil with some garlic at a friend's place and really enjoyed them. Ever since then I have been looking for a recipe that would work really well with dandelion greens. I knew I had found it when I saw this. And when I found a pretty bunch of red dandelions at Wild Oats yesterday, I knew the time had come to try it out.
Since Anita is still keeping some secrets when it comes to haakh and sharing only with some others who are subsequently getting their revenge by pulling out the asparagus card, I figured I would follow Chandramukhi Ganju's recipe for munji haakh. I took some hints from Bee's method because unfortunately, Ms. Ganju forgets to tell us when to add asafetida as well as the garam masala.
Before I go any further, I must tell you a little bit more about dandelion greens. Regular dandelion greens are only slightly bitter and have a flavor rather like mulyachi bhaji made with the greens of white radish. Red dandelions? If you hate karela, you will detest red dandelion greens with a vengeance. They surpass bitter melon or bitter gourd in the bitter department.
Oh, and, I loved these dandelions.
- 1 bunch organic dandelion greens
- 2 tbsp mustard oil
- a pinch hing
- 3-4 dry red chillies, broken into two pieces each
- 1/2 tsp Kashmiri garam masala (scroll down towards the bottom of the post)
- 1 cup water
- Salt to taste
- Wash and clean the dandelion greens
- Slice the leaves into thin long strips and chop the stems fine
- Heat mustard oil in the pressure cooker or skillet till a smoking point
- Add hing and red chillies
- Add the greens and stir well till the greens wilt a bit
- Add water and salt
- Cook in the pressure cooker under pressure for at least 7-8 minutes or in your skillet until the greens are tender
- Release the pressure as quickly as possible, keeping your safety in mind, and open the pressure cooker.
- Add Kashmiri garam masala and mix well.
- Cook for another minute or so and serve hot with naan or, to appease Anita, have it with starchy short-grained rice.
What can I say? It was bitter personified but I loved it. Medha wanted it off her plate as soon as possible but she did taste it. My husband and I relished it over the next few days.
There is a side effect that we weren't quite aware of the first night we ate these: dandelion greens clean out your system better than spinach. Uh huh!
More about dandelions and dandelion greens:
Why we should like dandelions
Healing properties of Dandelion Greens
Growing and harvesting dandelion greens