Today I am going to share a simple Broccoli Rabe recipe with you. The fresh produce department at grocery stores are one of my favorite spots for shopping and sometimes also function as a muse. Seeing all those seasonal fresh produce gives me ideas for new recipes, and ingredient combinations and it is one of the main reasons I spend quite a chunk of my grocery shopping time in that section. Now with the weather getting better, I am hoping to regularly visit the many nearby local farmers markets - Love them - PERIOD!!!
Well, coming back to the topic of Broccoli Rabe (also know as Rapini or Broccoletti), it is a leafy green vegetable and a member of Brassicaceae (mustard family). In fact, I think it tastes very similar to mustard greens and would describe the flavor as nutty, slightly bitter, and a little pungent. I paired it with some lentils to balance off the flavors and it seemed to work just perfect. Broccoli Rabe is a great source of vitamins A, C, K and minerals such as potassium, calcium, and iron. Its general appearance is with many spiked leaves surrounding clusters of green buds that resemble small heads of broccoli and sometimes you can also see small, edible yellow flowers blooming among the buds. This cultivated vegetable is believed to descend from a wild herb related to the turnip that grew either in China or the Mediterranean region.
It is available all year long, but its peak season in the Northern Hemisphere is Fall to Spring so take advantage of this fresh seasonal produce in the markets when you get a chance.
On a personal note, I have been wanting to share my recent cruise vacation experience to Cozumel for some time now but the sudden jolt back to reality and a busy lifestyle, coupled with a recent job change and the ever busy summer schedules have been simply OVERWHELMING!!!
This was the best vacation we have had by far, and yes, we did take our lil munchkin along with us and she also had a great time! It was a short 4 day trip with almost a full day at the beautiful Caribbean island of Cozumel. Our ship, the Jewel of the Seas, seemed like a luxurious 5-star hotel on water, with almost everything you could ask for from a relaxing vacation- exquisite buffets, mini golf, rock climbing, zip-lining, basketball courts, billiard tables, nightclub, a movie theatre, Broadway shows, bars, gym(i did use it once), large outdoor pool and jacuzzi with DJs playing music alongside, shows, live music, parties, casino, upscale restaurants with waterfront view, day care facility with extremely fun activities for kids that keep them super happy....the list goes on. I am more of a 'nature' person so just being able to gaze out at a beautiful wide-open aquamarine blue ocean with a gentle breeze on your face all day long was enough to keep me content. Almost every evening, being able to just relax and gaze at the spectacular sunset, and the beautiful deep blue color of the Caribbean sea was awe-inspiring and calming. I must say,
Some of my family and friends queried about my fears or being stranded in the ocean in the middle of nowhere but my answer to that was "as long as the ship doesn't sink I think I would be fine" - LOL. The only thing I was initially worried about was motion sickness and I did pack some precautionary medicine just in case, but thankfully none of us had any such issues. The best part is that we actually enjoyed the slight rocking motion of the ship especially while sleeping, just like a baby being rocked in a cradle :)
Overall I think it was definitely the best vacation of my life and I surely plan to go for more cruises- Well, I have penned a lot today and I think I need to give my fingers a rest...I would love to share about our experience at Cosumel, maybe in a later post but until then this is Shema signing off - happy cooking, eating and living!!!
1/2 Tsp - Black Mustard Seeds
1/2 Tsp - Urad Dal
2 - Whole Dry Red Chili
1 Sprig - Curry Leaves
1 Cup - Coconut
3/4 Inch - Fresh Ginger
1 clove - Garlic
1-2 - Shallot (Kunjulli)
1 Tsp - Cumin seeds (Jeerakam)
2 - Green chili
1/2 Cup - Moong Dal / Cherupayar Parippu
1 bunch - Broccoli Rabe
1/4 Tsp - Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
- Cut the broccoli rabe and keep the chopped stems and leaves separate as the stems take longer to cook
- Heat coconut oil in a wok/kadai and splutter mustard seeds.
- Add urad dal and saute until golden brown
- Add dry red chili followed by curry leaves and saute for a minute
- Mix in the moong dal and saute it for 2-3 minutes to toast it. It brings out a nutty flavor
- Stir in water and turmeric powder and cover the kadai and cook until the moong dal is almost done.
- Mix in the chopped broccoli rabe stems add salt and cover and cook
- While its cooking grind the coconut, ginger, garlic, shallot, cumin seeds and green chili together with some water
- Add the ground coconut paste and chopped broccoli rabe leaves and cook until the water evaporates.
- You can adjust the quantity of coconut according to your desire.
- Do not over cook the leaves or moong dal
- You can use any greens in place of Brococli Rabe like Collard Greens, Spinach, Kale or Mustard Greens