Collard Greens –  A Kashmiri Recipe from a Mexican Farmer

I was shopping at my local farmer’s market last year when I came across this lush, thick almost waxy green, which the farmer told me were collard greens. 

I was intrigued. They were so tough, almost like the leaves of the colocasia yam plant that used to sprout behind my uncle’s home in Trivandrum, a city in southern India. So I asked the farmer- how do I use this?

The farmer, a friendly Mexican guy, proceeded to tell me about the Kashmiri stew called “Haakh”, which he described as the ‘best way to cook collards hands down’. He also gave me the recipe below.

Ingredients

  • 5-6 large collard leaves, stems removed, then rolled up and cut into long, skinny ribbons
  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • 1  medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp oil of choice (I used canola oil)
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida (hing)
  • 1/2 cup water (you can add more- but keep in mind the tomatoes will also let out a lot of water) 
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. Once the sputter, add the hing and the sliced onions. 
  2. Saute the onions on medium heat until nicely browned.
  3. Add the ginger and garlic and stir for a minute (until they lose their ‘raw’ smell)
  4. Add the tomatoes and stir for another minute.
  5. Add the collard greens, salt, red chilli and coriander-cumin powders and water.
  6. When it comes to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid, turn the heat to low, and allow the veggies to simmer away until done. I cooked them for about 45 minutes because I like them with some crunch. But if you want them super silky, cook them for the full two hours.
  7. If there is still water remaining at the bottom of the pan, turn the heat to medium or high and let it evaporate.
  8. Serve hot as a side dish with rice or Indian rotis, eat it with toast (like I do) or just eat it on its own. It is insanely yummy! The farmer was’t kidding! 

I have no idea if this is an authentic Kashmiri recipe. If you have a better way to make Haak, do share your recipe!! 

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