It feels rather like fall, although the official calendar does not pronounce fall until next week. There are greens, roots and peppers in the garden but the yellow leaves are certainly warning me that the garden is beginning to slow down. It is working with the bounty of red chard and beet greens, that I decided up this weeks spice – Sesame.
Sesame, brings mystical and mythological images, in the story of Alibaba and the forty thieves, the entrance to a cave of gold is guarded by the code words, “Open Sesame”. The word sesame here works because when the sesame seeds actually pop from the pod, the sound is similar to that of a lock being opened.
Like other items I have presented here for you, the use of sesame in the culinary universe is diverse. The sesame seed is much liked for its color, nutty rich tasting flavor. Raw sesame oil is used in cooking Mddle Eastern and Asian foods. The toasted sesame oil is the sesame oil that is used in Far Eastern cooking.
Best known are the white hulled sesame seeds, which you use to make the sesame paste called tahini, an ingredient in hummus. Unhulled black or brown sesame seeds are used for garnished quite commonly on sushi.
What I find interesting about this very flexible and frequent weeknight recipe for our household is that it actually uses sesame in two different forms, toasted or Asian-style sesame oil and sesame seeds. I call this a flexible recipe because depending on the season I play around with the green or leafy vegetable that I use. I am personally very partial to red leafy vegetables such as displayed here but have played with this recipe using an assortment of greens such as spinach, broccoli rabe and of course hearty kale.
Unlike some of the other ways that I cook with vegetables, I do braise these greens a little longer in their own juices. I will strongly advice you to add the soy sauce after the greens wilt to avoid oversalting the greens.
Soy and Sesame Braised Beet Green Medley
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves 4 to 6 people
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
5 cups finely chopped beet greens or red chard (in this case, I used a mixture of both)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon soy sauce or to taste
11/2 teaspoon white seasame seeds
Cilantro to garnish
Method of Preparation
1. Heat both the oils on medium heat on a wide bottomed wok.
2. Add in the garlic and cook for about 45 seconds stirring frequently until the garlic evolves into a pale toffee color. Add in the ginger and stir well.
3. Add in the greens and mix well. At this time the greens will wilt and then release moisture. Let the greens cook down for 10 minutes stirring occasionally, until the greens are fairly dry.
4. Add in the red pepper, soy sauce and squeeze in the lime juice and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and garnish with the cilantro before serving.
Rinku Bhattacharya is a daytime financial professional, who spends the rest of her time immersed in food. Rinku is the author of the blog, Cooking in Westchester, where she shares her life experiences, original recipes that combine Indian spices with produce from her backyard and local farmers markets. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past six years, and has found her classes a great way to teach and