I made this dish about a month or so ago, and I have to say that it was one of the most surprising things have ever made. The dinner where it debuted was an interesting event, kind of an African-themed hamster wake. It was a great evening and a good time was had by all I think, and it was a very decent send-off for Coco the hamster.
African food is pretty new to me (apart from North Africa and South African Braai), but after a few of my friends have travelled there and raved about it, I looked into it a bit more. I found this recipe online after searching for kale based, vegan, West-African recipes, and it sounded so so weird and a little bit disgusting, I just had to try it. I was looking for kale recipes as I had discovered on a previous investigation that it is very popular in a range of dishes throughout the world. The recipe is from Mollie Katzen, so not exactly authentic – but as she is the author of one of my first and most beloved cookbooks The Moosewood Cookbook – I knew that it would be worth a try. And I was so right. Now I was really dubious, even as it was cooking I thought that it would be horrible. But then I tasted it, and it was incredible – DELICIOUS!!! sweet, savoury and spicy - flavour combinations that work so well together, in an earthy, hearty and totally new kind of way. This recipe is from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, I found it on the website www.veganconnection.com
Serves 4 – very easy. Serve on rice, or couscous, or with flatbread.
1 onion, diced not that small
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Vegetable or other flavourless oil, approx 1 tbsp
1 bunch of kale or Swiss chard (4 cups sliced) - I used about 1 and a bit bags of kale from Sainsburys – they are really large but once all the stalks had been picked out, it wasn’t as much as it seemed. Also remember that it cooks down a lot.
2 cups undrained canned crushed pineapple (20-ounce can) - I used one regular sized can
½ cup peanut butter - use a few tbsp of hot water to melt it
Generous shakes of Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce - you need to be able to taste the spice, as it balances the sweetness of the pineapple
handful chopped fresh coriander
salt to taste
big handful crushed skinless peanuts (if using salted peanuts then put less salt in the main dish)
2 or 3 sliced spring onions (including the green parts)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions for about 10 minutes adding the garlic about halfway, stirring frequently, they are lightly browned. While the onions and garlic are frying, wash the kale carefully, discarding large stems and any blemished leaves. Of the leaves are whole shred them into 1inch slices.
Add the pineapple and its juice to the onions in the pan along with a tablespoon or 2 of hot water, and bring it to a simmer. Stir in the kale, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until just tender. Mix in the peanut butter, Tabasco and coriander and simmer for a couple more minutes. Season and serve topped with crushed peanuts, chopped spring onions, fresh coriander and a wedge of lime.