This creamy Swiss chard curry is so easy to make. Delicately spiced but packed with flavour - perfect for home-grown chard!
Swiss Chard is so very easy to grow that is has become very popular for veg patches or allotments, and also for veg box deliveries. But what to do with it? I tend to use the leaves as I would spinach or kale, but that misses the point of those beautiful, colourful stems. I hope you'll find this delicately spiced curry a delicious way to enjoy the whole chard stalk, from top to bottom.
I've had a bumper crop this year of a lovely variety called "Bright Lights" rainbow chard, which really is as pretty as it sounds. Chard is fairly easy to find in supermarkets and greengrocers, but if you can't get hold of it, any other green leafy vegetable like kale or spinach would work equally well here.
This dish is not just delicious but also insanely good for you - plenty of protein from lots of lentils, iron and vitamins from leafy green chard, and fibre and vitamins from the skin-on new potatoes.
This would work really well finished in a slow-cooker, and is just as good, (possibly better!), the following day so why not make up a bigger batch and save some for lunch?!
What to I need to make my Swiss Chard Curry?
Swiss chard Use very fresh chard for the best flavour - ideally freshly picked from your veg patch or allotment! If you can't get hold of chard, kale or spinach will work well here too.
New potatoes Waxy potatoes like Charlotte, Maris Peer or even Jersey Royals are ideal here. Avoid floury varieties which will turn to mush and give a very different texture to your curry.
Tinned lentils Any good quality tinned green or brown lentils will work well here. They are very cheap to buy and a great staple to have on hand in the cupboard - and very good for you too!
Coconut milk Make sure you use tinned coconut milk, (not the type you get in a carton). Whether you choose full-fat or reduced-fat is entirely up to you.
Garlic & ginger You really can't beat the flavour of freshly-chopped garlic and ginger, but if you're in a hurry or don't have fresh to hand, the jars of ready-chopped garlic and ginger that you keep in the fridge door are a good fallback.
Spices OR spice paste Depending on what you have to hand, you can use either a homemade spice blend of turmeric, cumin, garam masala and chilli flakes, or else a ready-made Indian spice paste - something like a korma paste is ideal, then if you want a bit more heat you can add extra chilli flakes or even a fresh chilli.
Tomatoes Use medium salad tomatoes - and make sure you add the juice, seeds and everything to the pan for the full tomato-ey flavour.
Lemon A final flourish of lemon juice really does make all the difference to the overall flavour of the curry - such a freshness and citrus zing.
There's no fancy equipment needed to make this curry, though a good quality casserole or deep frying pan with a lid is ideal. My trusty Le Creuset casserole gets used almost every day in our house, and twelve years later (it was a wedding present!), it looks just the same as it did the day we got it. (Can’t say the same about me or Mr F, sadly!!).
Can I freeze my Chard Curry?
Yes, this curry will freeze really well, so why not make a bigger batch whilst you're at it, and freeze some for a rainy day?
I freeze curries and stews in individual portions in small tupperware boxes or empty margarine tubs, which are the perfect size for a portion of curry and stack really well in the freezer. Just don't forget to label your tubs carefully, or you won't have a clue what's what in a few months' time!
This curry is also delicious after a day or two in the fridge, (even better, in fact!). So a lovely bonus lunch for the following day.
And if you're looking for more ideas for things to do with Swiss Chard, I love the look of Lucy's Red Pepper & Chard Pesto from BakingQueen74 blog.
Can I make this curry in a slow-cooker?
My answer to this is yes.... but....
When cooking with onions, spices, ginger and garlic, they really need to get started on quite a high heat to release their flavours, soften and sweeten. So, if you do want to use a slow cooker I would recommend following steps 1-2 in the recipe in a frying pan on the hob, and then tipping the whole lot into your slow cooker, including the coconut milk, but not the swiss chard.
Depending on the timings of your day, you can cook it for either 3-4 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low. Add the chard stalks and leaves one hour before the end of cooking time.
You might feel that defeats the object slightly, and slow cookers are for ‘tip it all in and forget about it’ kind of meals, but I would rather make that extra 5-7 minutes effort to get a really sensational curry.
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Swiss Chard Curry with potato & lentils
- 2 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic (or 1tsp ready-chopped garlic from a jar)
- 2 cm piece ginger (or 2tsp ready-chopped ginger from a jar)
- EITHER 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp chilli flakes
- OR 2tbsp pre-made Indian spice paste (such as korma paste)
- 2 tomatoes
- 300 g new potatoes
- 400 g tinned lentils (1 x 400g tin, which is about 250g drained weight)
- 200 ml water
- 200 g swiss chard (or rainbow chard, or any other green leafy vegetable)
- 400 ml coconut milk
- 1 lemon
- Heat the oil in a large pan (one with a lid), and add the onion. Fry over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften.
- Peel and crush the garlic cloves, and peel and finely chop the ginger. Add them both to the pan and cook for a further minute.
- Then add either the spice paste or the turmeric, cumin and chilli flakes. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add them to the pan with all their juices and seeds. Continue to fry gently for a further 3-4 minutes.
- Slice the potatoes into thick rounds.
- Drain and rinse the tinned lentils and add them to the pan, along with the potatoes and the water, (top tip - you can refill the empty lentil tin half-way with water to save measuring 200ml). Season well with salt and black pepper.
- Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are softened. Stir from time to time, and if the mixture looks a little dry, add a little more water.
- Separate the stalks from the leaves of the chard, (set the leaves aside for later).
- Trim the ends of the stalks, then slice them diagonally. Add them to the pan.
- Tip in the coconut milk and bring back to the boil. Return to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes, (uncovered). Taste and add more salt if required.
- Finely chop the chard leaves, then stir these through the curry just two minutes before the end of cooking. Finally, turn off the heat, squeeze the juice of the lemon into the pan and stir through. Serve with rice and naan bread.
I'm entering this recipe into the Meat-Free Mondays challenge over at Tinned Tomatoes - hop over for a look!
And also linking with CookBlogShare hosted this week by Karen at the beautiful Lavender and Lovage.