Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Swiss Chard and Green Peas Stir Fry with coconut

I cannot not talk about Swiss Chard. It is very easy to grow and provides enormous satisfaction both in terms of harvest and taste. Sowed them in early April and they have started producing leaves in abundance to be used once every 2 weeks. usually the leaves are harvested and the plant intact to stimulate more growth. They will produce till the frost in late November kills off the plant.

After the bulk of the coconut was put to use in the coconut rice there was still some left for making this long forgotten stir fry, not the stir fry itself but the addition of fresh grated coconut.

I got about 2 bags full of chard leaves and combined with some fresh green peas made an excellent stir fry. Off this will go to Green Gourmet event hosted by Preeti of W'Rite' Food.

Grating coconut
In India there are numerous hand cranked and old kitchen tools that do a very good job of grating coconut. The grand daddy of all tools the aruvamanai was probably the only tool I did not carry with me here to the US but it is a nifty tool for grating coconut. Mom instead bought this handy coconut scraper.

hand held coconut scraper

Once the coconut is split in half, the ragged edge is used to scrape the coconut from the shell and it makes beautiful coconut gratings for garnish and cooking.

jagged edge for scraping coconut out

If fancy is not something you fancy, use a sharp knife and cut out small pieces from the shell. Pierce into the flesh till you hit the shell and pry it out. Then use a food processor to grate the coconut.

Swiss Chard and Green Peas Stir Fry
1. 4 cups of packed chopped Swiss Chard leaves
2. 1 1/2 cups of fresh green peas
3. 1/2 onion chopped fine
4. 4 red chilies broken in two, seeds removed
5. 1/2 cup of grated fresh coconut
6. seasonings: curry leaves, mustard - 1/2 tsp, cumin seeds, 1 tsp urad dal
7. 1 tsp oil + salt to taste

1. In a wide mouthed pan (kadai) heat oil, when hot add the urad dal and when it turns slightly brown add the cumin, mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop add the curry leaves and red chilies.
2. Add the onions and saute till translucent
3. Add the green peas mix and let it cook for 4-5 minutes with the lid closed
4. Add the chopped greens, salt and let it cook till the water evaporates (if there is a lot of excess water drain and use it in sambhar or making chapati dough)
5. Add 3/4 th of the coconut and mix it in, turn off the heat
6. Sprinkle the rest of the coconut on top


  1. Nothing like your own harvest fresh off the garden! The frost actually kills the plant? So you will have to plant fresh ones again?!
    The stir fry sounds great ... love anything with green peas and coconut. :-)

  2. Remember last year I planted a few Chards for your event? They came up on their own this year and I already made two dishes with them. With this kind of heat, they grow so fast. I love Red chard, stir fry looks delicious.
    No more school for my son from today, EOCs are all done, can't believe 9th grade is over so soon. I got to cook lunch for 3 everyday now!:)

  3. Looks so gud..having our own harvest veggie always make the dish special ...nice clicks

  4. Wow- that must be an incredible feeling to eat food you have grown yourself! The chard is bursting with freshness.

  5. I was thinking of you when I saw chard at the farmers market(not the real farmers market) on Sunday :)

  6. Your chard looks really bright and fresh. Any suggestions for stuff that could be planted in a pot? Would probably have to be herbs I guess.. anyway.. nice to see your garden-ventures. Cheers.

  7. SS, you could plant Swiss Chard easily in a pot. In fact I have them in growing in pots also and they do pretty well. Give it a go.
    I updated this post with information on grating coconut. Take a look.

  8. Awesome!! Thanks for the update. And for the pic of the tool too. :) I am not too fond of collecting too much equipment. But your tip about using a sharp knife will certainly come very handy in future! :)

    I didn't realize one can grow chard and things like this in a pot! Thought roots must be deep. I should look up this garden stuff more before assuming it must be hard. :) Thanks and cheerio!

  9. SS, most greens do not have roots that go deep, for that matter neither do the vegetable plants. You can grown chilies, eggplants and tomatoes all in pots. Good Luck.

  10. Sandeepa :) "not the real farmer's market" ? Saw it on TV :) ?

  11. wow lovely bright produce from your garden. last year without knowing I sowed some and had a great harvest. the dish looks yum. love this kind of dish(thoran) with lentil and rice.

  12. I have one of those coconut scrapers at home...its very handy...but the problem is that the coconut that I buy from Indian store won't be good most of the times..so I decided to content myself with frozen coconuts as coconut is an ingredient is most of our kerala dishes...very healthy recipe....

  13. one feel so nice and satisfied when the food is grown and cooked at home! kudos! thanks for sending this to GG-1.

  14. I have never cooked with swiss chard, well and as you know i don't have a garden and i think i don't have a green finger too. Every time when we go to i ndian i want to bring a traditional coconut scraper, but it never happens.

  15. Stir fry looks super healthy and delicious...really great to harvest veggies on our own..

  16. Ah! I've never seen a cocnut scraper before! That is very handy! Thanks for sharing :)

  17. No, not TV. Why, was it on TV ?

    I mean where I am, there are numerous Farmers Market, produce is cheap and fresher but they aren't really Farmers Market as in, there are no farmers bringing in their produce to sell.
    I got those mangoes from the same place

  18. The coconut scraper is new to me..never seen it before, stir fry looks delicious, simple and yummy!

  19. That sure looks good! I love it when the peas get all wrinkly and roasted. I like the rotary grater for coconut - you keep it pressed down with your knee/thigh on the floor and collect the gratings onto a bowl or newspaper - most convenient. I hear they're only available in villages now.

  20. wow, now i am jealous! how nice it must have been to pickup this fresh chard and cook and eat it.. the stir fry sounds like a great idea. i have always used chard in some sort of daal.. but next time i am trying a stirfry instead.


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