For those who don’t know, I am a massive Amy Poehler fan. I mean, MASSIVE. She is my spirit animal. And since she hasn’t told me otherwise, I’m assuming that I’m hers as well. A few weeks ago I ran into her at my neighborhood farmer’s market (and by ‘ran into’, I mean I went up to her and fan-girled out on her, BIG TIME) and I about passed out from excitement. Strangely, she did not ask me if I wanted to get coffee with her later or go shopping or get mani/pedis together as has happened oftentimes in my dreams. But anyway, I recently discovered that one our my school’s board members is her business manager, which gave me an idea. Why not invite her to speak at our school, possibly at a big celebration of women in our community, a celebration in which I would have to plan from the ground up? And while I went to bed that night thinking there was no way Amy would say no to such an impassioned request, sadly, it turns out that she does not do school functions. Apparently she didn’t even speak at her own high school when she was approached. And so, my dreams were dashed. But, that’s beside the point. The point is, having Nik Sharma, the incredible creative genius behind A Brown Table, do a guest post on my blog is very near the feeling I imagined of having Amy Poehler speak at my school. I’ve admired Nik’s work since he started his blog and to have him not only create a recipe and share it via Jewhungry but to also say nice things about me!? Well, that’s some awesome stuff. Excuse me while I fan-girl out . . . again.
I came across Whitney’s blog, Jewhungry a while ago on Instagram and quickly fell in love with her style and work. She is fun and super sweet and when she asked me to share a recipe on Jewhungry, I was more than happy and excited. Today, I’m sharing a recipe for steamed rainbow chard rolls that are stuffed with some of my favorite ingredients, sweet potatoes and green chickpeas. Rainbow chard is in season right now and the colors that are available are absolutely gorgeous! So here is my take on some fun vegetables that are in full swing right now!
If you can’t find green chickpeas, use the regular kind. I like green chickpeas because even though they get tender when boiled, they don’t fall apart to a mushy texture like the regular chickpeas. I’ve flavored the filling with a few spices common to Indian cooking but feel free to play with the amount of cayenne depending on how intense you like heat in your food. This is one of those recipes, that you can make a few days ahead of time and then eat them whenever you want.
There are no hard and fast rules to this recipe but I do suggest a few recommendations while preparing these rolls. To make the rainbow chard leaves more pliable and amenable to rolling, I dunk them in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds, it will make things much easier for you. At this point you can eat them as is (since the filling is cooked separately). You can also steam them as I did below and serve them before eating. The main thing here is to have fun while cooking and enjoying eating!
Rainbow Chard rolls stuffed with Spicy sweet potatoes and green chickpeas
yields: 12 rolls
12 large (around 10” long) rainbow chard leaves, rinsed and cleaned + a few extra to line a bamboo steamer
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (you might need a little more depending on how much oil the sweet potatoes absorb)
1 1/2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher sea salt
1/4 cup red onions, chopped fine
1 teaspoon garlic, minced fine
1 inch piece ginger root, peeled and julienned
1 cup green chickpeas (or regular chickpeas) boiled and drained
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
a little olive oil for brushing the leaf rolls
- Trim the thick end of the midrib off from the rainbow chard leaves. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil on a high flame. Using a pair of tongs, immerse and submerge the leaves in the water for exactly 10 seconds and remove them immediately, drain in a colander and keep aside until ready to assemble.
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a wok or medium-size saucepan with a lid on medium-high heat. Add the sweet potatoes along with 1 teaspoon of the salt, stir to coat evenly and cover with lid. Cook for about 6-8 minutes until the potatoes are slightly browned and tender. Remove from wok/saucepan and keep aside in a large mixing bowl.
- In the same wok/saucepan, heat the rest of the oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté them for 1 minute. Stir in the garlic and ginger and sauté for 30 seconds, add the chickpeas and sauté for 4-5 minutes with occasional stirring. They should get slightly seared. Add the garam masala, cumin, and cayenne pepper along with the sweet potatoes previously cooked and stir to coat evenly. Cook for 1 additional minute, remove from stove and drizzle with the fresh lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- To assemble the rolls, take one softened rainbow chard leaf with the shiny side facing outside. Place one generous tablespoon of the sweet potato and chickpea filling at the top end of the leaf, leaving a little gap on both sides of the filling. Fold the empty gap on each side and then roll the leaf starting topside over itself to form a cigar (this is exactly how you would roll a grape leaf to make a dolmade). Prepare the rest of the leaf rolls in the same manner, brush each roll lightly with the olive oil and place them in a bamboo steamer lined with a few extra leaves. You can also skip the steaming if you don’t want to cook the leaves. Steam the leaves for 3-4 minutes and serve warm. Store the extra in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Note: If you don’t like the thick midrib in the leaf, I would recommend steaming the leaf rolls a little longer for around 10-12 minutes.