Chard and Corn Sabji

I have a problem with greens. I am drawn to them in the supermarket, in the farmers’ market, on Fresh Direct. I buy insane quantities of leafy greens, no matter the season, and then I leave them to wilt and make a silty mess all over the vegetable drawer. The cycle is complete when I empty yellowed greens from the fridge in order to make space, full of optimism, for the next round of hopeful kales and chards and turnip tops.

No more!  This tendency to over-buy vegetables then never cook them must be the worst kind of hoarding:  it’s terribly wasteful, it’s completely stupid, and it ends with a trash can full of rotting food.  The chard in this vegetable dish took all of 7 minutes to wash — and it was dirty, too!

I’m going to commit, this winter, to buying fewer vegetables and actually cooking, promptly, the ones that I do buy.

This sabji is my version, using local ingredients, of a dish that I’ve have been served, it seems, every time I’ve been to a Gujrati thali place.  I don’t know that it’s completely authentic (whatever that means), but everyone enjoyed it as a warm vegetable dish, and I thought it made a nice cold salad in my lunch box today.

In keeping with my re-commitment to not wasting food, this dish features the stems and the leaves of the chard. The stems are nice — almost standing in for onion when they are sauteed.

Chard and Corn Sabji

  • 1 bunch of chard
  • 1 ear of corn
  • 1/2  medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • red chilli powder, to taste

Wash the chard thoroughly. It probably needs to be soaked and rinsed several times to remove all the grit and silt.

Separate the stems from the leaves, and keep them separate.  Dice the stems and finely chop the leaves.

Use a knife to remove the kernels from one ear of corn.

Heat the oil in a kadhai or wok. Add the mustard seeds to the hot oil and allow them to splutter and pop for a minute or two.  Add the finely chopped onion, sprinkle the salt on top, and give it a stir.

Turn down the heat, and allow the onions to cook until transparent. Add the chard stems, turmeric, and cumin powder.  Cook to soften the chard stems, 5-10 minutes.

Add the chard leaves and the corn kernels.  If the chart is fresh, there should be no need to add water. Just stir the ingredients together, cover, and let the vegetables cook. This shouldn’t take long — about 5 minutes.

A little chilli powder on top is nice, but I skipped it for my family. This dish is nice with plain rotis.


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