This year I grew Japanese kale, it seems to really enjoy our local growing conditions. The leaves are quite tender, and very good in a stir fry. The flavour of sesame seeds goes very well. The basic ingredients of the sesame sauce are sesame, soy sauce and a pinch of sugar. I have also added mange tout to the kale with great results. You can use sweet cooking sake instead of the sugar, if you have it.
The Japan Centre is an excellent place to find good quality ingredients and recipes. I haven’t quite sussed how to put a Japanese menu together, this is meant as a side-dish. I served it with ginger noodles. The Japan centre suggests serving with plain rice, or as a side-dish, or as part of a Bento lunch.
- 200g kale, sliced across the leaves, discarding any tough stems
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted and ground in a pestle and mortar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp cooking sake or 2 tsp brown sugar and 1/2 tsp water
- Mix the toasted ground sesame seeds with the soy sauce and sake
- Put about 1cm water in a large pan with the kale, bring to the boil and simmer for around 5 minutes, stirring the kale to make sure it all cooks.
- Once the kale is cooked, drain, and mix with the sesame sauce.
I’m just getting to the end of the curly kale from last year. What a great vegetable to grow, it survives cabbage root fly, is edible through the winter and early spring, and Alex’s chickens will get a good feed off the old plants when I root them up.
We’ve had a lot of stir-fried kale this winter, often with garlic and chilli flakes. If you haven’t enough kale, you can bulk it out with broccoli. This recipe comes from SIMPLE by Ottolenghi. He also sells a range of the ingredients from the book – cunning marketing.
- 500g – 600g prepared kale tops or a mix of kale and broccoli
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 to 2 tsp chilli flakes
- 10g mint leaves
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. When it boils, add the kale and cook for 90 seconds before draining and rinsing in cold water. You may need to do this in batches. Do the same for any broccoli
- In a large wok or sauté pan, heat the oil and fry the garlic and cumin for a minute or two, until the garlic is browning. Fish the garlic out and set it aside.
- Add the kale and fry for around 3 minutes. Add half the chilli flakes, and a good pinch of salt, broccoli and keep cooking for another minute.
- Mix through the remaining chilli flakes, lime juice and mint, and garnish with the fried garlic slices.