When we planted tatsoi last October, I didn’t realize that it wouldn’t sprout until spring. I had heard it would even grow in the snow, so I impatiently drummed my fingers while checking the garden daily, waiting for signs of life. I had planted the seeds under a cold frame and thought for sure we would have greens in December. When the seeds finally sprouted in March, they grew slowly at first, then as spring went on the leaves suddenly jumped from just four or five centimeters long to as much as 15 centimeters. We will continue to plant tatsoi as a cool weather green because we like the flavor and it grew very well in our garden, much better than the spinach which never grew any taller than a few centimeters.
Tatsoi is a cool weather green and will bolt in hot weather. You can eat the young tender leaves raw, but as they get larger they need to be sliced and cooked, and they work great as stir-fried greens. Ours went from being about 20 centimeters tall to almost 1 meter tall with the flower stalks when it bolted. It was rather dramatic and I should have taken photos but forgot to take my camera out to the garden that trip.
We used the last of our spring tatsoi in this dish and adapted the recipe from a spinach dish by Madhur Jaffrey, one of my favorite cookbook authors. It makes a delicious side, and you can add sliced mushrooms if you like for another layer of texture and flavor.
Garam masala is one of my favorite spice mixes, and you can usually find it in Asian grocery stores or you can make your own. Many variations on the spice mix exist in Indian cuisine depending on the region of origin and the dish in which it will be used. I’ve included Jaffrey’s recipe below.
This is my contribution to Grow Your Own, a blogging event that celebrates the dishes we create from foods we’ve grown, raised, foraged, or hunted ourselves. The deadline is June 30 and Graziana of Erbe in Cucina is our host for this round, so be sure to visit her blog for more information about submitting your post. If you are new to the event, you can read more about the rules for participating at the Grow Your Own page.
TATSOI WITH GARAM MASALA
Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey Indian Cooking.
Serves 4 to 6.
large frying pan with lid
4 tablespoons canola oil or ghee
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 pounds (900 g) tatsoi, washed and trimmed, cut crosswise into 1 cm strips.
1 fresh hot chile, finely chopped (or less to taste)
1 teaspoon peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
GARAM MASALA (Grind all these together. Makes about 3 tablespoons.)
1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
2-inch (5 cm) stick of cinnamon
1 teaspoon black cumin seeds (or regular cumin seeds)
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 of a nutmeg nut
1. Warm the oil in the large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir for 3 minutes.
2. Add the sliced tatsoi, chile, ginger, salt, and sugar, stirring and cooking for 5 minutes.
3. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Cover tightly and and turn heat down to low, cooking for 10 more minutes. Remove the lid and boil away some of the extra liquid. Sprinkle garam masala over the top and stir.