For as long as I remember, after breakfast, my mother or grandmother would forage for greens in our garden or the neighbourhood. We always had to have greens on the menu at lunch time. It is only natural that any edible greens were treated as a bonus and among unusual things my mum cooked, remember radish greens or moringa (drumstick) greens. In the same tradition, I have started using the beet greens – sometimes I cook on their own and smother it with roasted peanuts. This variation is spicy, nourishing (incidentally beet greens are high in iron and other essential vitamins and minerals) and so easy to make.
125g lentils, rinsed
250g beet greens
150g onions, sliced thinly
4-5 garlic, peeled and crushed
1-2 red chillies, finely diced
100g chopped tinned tomatoes,
3tbsp sesame oil
Salt to taste
Wash the beet greens thoroughly as dirt could be lurking in the grooves of the stems. Finely chop the greens and stems. Set aside.
Put a kadai or a sauce pan on medium heat. Pour in the sesame oil and when hot enough, throw in the garlic. When the garlic is turning to a pale brown, add the onions and fry for 5-6 minutes. Toss the chillies and beet greens. Continue to fry and when the greens have wilted, add the lentils. Season with salt.
Keep frying so the moisture evaporates for about five minutes. Then add the tomatoes and keep frying until all the moisture from the tomatoes is absorbed. Now add water little by little. You may need up to three quarters to one cup of water. You want the flavours to be concentrated, so don’t add all the water at once.
Allow to cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Serve hot with brown rice. Serves 4.