Masoor with Red Chard

The day I was enamored by some adorable sunburst squash, I was also smitten by the lovely colors of a leafy vegetable - the red chard.

I've never cooked nor eaten any type of chard, let alone red chard. Here was a beautiful organic bunch of red chard, locally grown at 6000 feet in the Rockies of Colorado. I figured, why not! I'd already bagged the sunburst squash not knowing what I was going to do it; one more in the cart!

Since school started yesterday, I wanted to make sure that Medha's dinner the night before the first day of school was something she enjoys besides being nutritious. Chard is like a two-in-one, the goodness of spinach with the crunch of celery. It is rich in oxalates and vitamins C, E and K. It also has a good sprinkling of potassium.

I sautéed some chard in extra-virgin olive oil with some minced garlic and a dash of lemon. To me, it was delicious but I knew that this was a taste that she was not going to enjoy. It reminded me of the moolyachi bhaji (white radish) my mother used to make - a sharp tart flavor. But, there was a larger problem at hand. Luckily I still had half a bunch of red chard and I had to move quickly. Here's what I made:

Masoor with Red Chard

  • 1 cup whole masoor or whole red lentils
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 3 pieces of cinnamon, 1" in length
  • 15 whole black peppercorns
  • 5 cloves
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 bunch red chard, chopped (stalks included)
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup water
  • salt to taste
  1. Cook the masoor with the green chilli and the chopped onion in a pressure cooker.
  2. Heat the oil and toss in the whole spices: cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorn.
  3. Add the cooked masoor and onions. Pick out the green chilli, if desired.
  4. Add the tomato paste. I used 3 blobs of my frozen tomato paste.
  5. Add the ginger and red chilli powder and cook on medium heat.
  6. Add the chopped red chard, stalks and all.
  7. Add as much water to get the masoor to a consistency you like.
  8. Add salt and cook till the stalks of the red chard are tender but still slightly crunchy.
  9. Serve over rice or with naan, with lime pickle on the side
This was a hit because Medha loves masoor and had several servings with rice and yogurt. She was in bed before 9 pm, looking forward to the first day of school! Now, I'm off to get ingredients for my stuffed sunburst squash.


Nabeela said...

I make chard with dal's delicious!
Masoor dal is one of my favorites goes well with a lot of vegetables. You must be a little sad your girl is going back to school..aren't you? :(

Anonymous said...


Not relevant to the post.. but
"???? ??????? ???? ??????? ????????" !!!!


Shilpa said...

Manisha, this time when I went to local farmers markey, I saw both Chard and squash. Felt like buying them, but did not know what to make. so now that you have already tried, i am going to try them too :) (i am bored of eating same kind of veggies again and again). Thanks...

Anonymous said...

Nabeela, this was the first time I cooked chard and I loved the flavor! I like masoor dal, too. It cooks fast and changes from pink to yellow when cooked. I will make it with dal the next time. This time I used whole masoor as I had just about 1 cup left and I wanted to finish it off!

Medha going back to school is a bit of mixed emotions for me! We had a very busy summer and we really enjoyed doing things together. I also built up a huge backlog at work - so in a way, I'm relieved that I get uninterrupted stretches of time when I can plow through that! On the other hand, I miss the constant chatter and the incessant calls of "Mumma!"

Tuhin, kharach mala vatatay ki I should wear a navwari sadi with a large nath in my nose and a large sindoor cha tikka! What are all the question marks for?! You have to tell me!! I hope you're doing well! Ganesh Chaturthi kashi vatli Australiath?

Shilpa, I don't let it stop me! Not knowing what to do, that is! If it looks interesting, I buy it and then plague my friends with questions. My friend cooks a lot of greens - she once cooked dandelion leaves from her garden and I just loved them - and a quick call to her confirmed that chard is eaten stalks and all.

Are you doing anything special for Ganesh Chaturthi? I'm going to make chavde (what you call mande) in a bit!

FH said...


I have never cooked with swiss chard before, should be interesting! Will try.. :) Thanks.

RP said...

Wow! That looks delicious!
Annita of 'My plearure and my treasure' has a recipe for swiss chard. I am alittle busy otherwise I would have linked it here.

Anonymous said...

Those question marks were "Ganesh Chaturthi Chya Hardik Shubhecha" in Devnagri Script..

I guess blogspot doesnt support it.

BTW.. the naivedyache taat on the latest blog looks delicious :-)

Anonymous said...

RP, thanks! I found the recipe on Annita's site and it's something I will try out the next time.

Asha, thanks and same to you! Check out Annita's swiss chard thoran that RP recommends. Swiss chard comes with a white stalk, too. I bought the red one for the colors (the more colorful your meal, the healthier it is). Whichever chard you buy and whichever recipe you follow, let me know what you thought of the leafy chard.

Tuhin, thanks for the shubecha! Same to you! I can see the Devnag on other sites, say Maayboli Marathi Sangeet for instance. I think the Blogger comments module must have chewed up the Devnagri and spat out Q marks instead! Because changing the encoding of the page doesn't show the script. Dinner was very simple - no puris with the batatyachi bhaji or chutney or koshimbir or talele papad. But it was great and enjoyed by all! Is there a temple near where you are? They will probably have aarti and prasad for Ganesh Chaturthi at least once during this period.

Anonymous said...

Bought the red chard from the market today after remembering the photo from this post! Have whole masoor, will cook tonight and let you know the results. thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

It turned out very nicely, Manisha. Less spicy than I had expected, but I resisted the urge to throw in some garam masala. And I'm glad I did, because the chard had its own subtle taste. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

desiknitter, glad you liked the subtle flavors. Sometimes it's great to omit the chilli powder and go easy on the other spices and taste the food for what it is. A close friend of mine used to tell me how much he liked my cooking. He said it was wonderful and bland. He never understood why I was offended. Hey! I'm paying you a compliment, he would say. He was a Konkani and the food at his house used to be fiery at the very least.

Also, this was made with Medha in mind so I went easy on all the spices. She picks the whole spices out of her plate, except for cinnamon. We crunch through the black peppercorn to get that extra zing.

Anonymous said...

I recently stumbled on your blog and am now hooked! . I love ‘pathal bhajis' and this looks so delicious! Also, love the fact that this is so healthy. I have never cooked or eaten chard before but now that I have this recipe will give it a shot. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Sneha, welcome! This was my first encounter with chard, too. You could up the spice if you want but it's a toss up between tasting the flavors of the chard and getting that additional kick. So let me know what you did and how it tasted.