Indian food is renowned the world over for its variety of vegetarian offerings. Today we look at what is it that undermines the greens? How is that there are umpteen tales about making vegetables exciting and converting nightmares into dreams? Give us a chance to help one bring about a paradigm shift and talk more about The Greens and Company.
Ideally one should have a vegetable patch for growing greens. Fresh from the soil the vitamins are intact and once detached, a green like spinach starts to lose as much as 40 % of vitamin C in a day. And when cooked the loss is considerable. In any case, the greens like cabbage, lettuce, endive also have Vitamin A in the form of carotene. This vitamin is not water soluble and will resist the heat of cooking to a great extent. Another goody in greens is Vitamin B1 (thiamine). A pinch of bicarbonate of soda innocently added to cook the greens faster destroys this vitamin. Mineral elements and small amounts of second class protein is present in green vegetables. Probably the most important point of value green vegetables give to our diet is being the suppliers of indigestible cellulose or roughage which stimulates the muscles of digestive tract and has a laxative effect. Spinach and Pumpkin curry is one good example. But more popular among the Indian recipes that use greens is definitely sarson ka saag, palak paneer, aluchi patal bhaji, dal palak, makai palak, methi matar malai…..
Some tips on how best to cook greens
•You don’t need to add additional water while cooking green leafy vegetables like lettuce, palak, cabbage, amaranth because they have enough moisture content of their own which enables cooking.
•To keep leafy vegetables fresh for longer time, keep them in a damp cloth in the fridge.
•To retain the colour of leafy vegetables even after they are cooked, cook them uncovered for the first few minutes. Add a few drops of lime juice or vinegar when they are almost done. This should retain the greenness.
•Avoid reheating of green vegetable dishes to retain their colour.