It’s hard to ignore the piles of crisp, organic dark greens with those little broccoli-like heads peeking out in good measure when we’re on a weekly round to the summer market, given that the families are easily known for their, well, broccoli heads, even if the connection is merely a blur in the botanical scheme of things. Broccoli Rabe, actually, from the same subspecies as turnip, is slightly bitter, slightly tart, and thick-textured with a mild nutty flavour running through its sturdy stems. Rich in Iron and Vitamins A, C and K, this lovely leafy green vegetable, more commonly known as Rapini, has seen itself appear in several recipes in many a seasoned cook’s repertoire. While sauteeing it with garlic in olive oil is possibly the easiest way to use it up, we, from the land of sarson ka saag, couldn’t resist coming up with a tastier – if not better – way to spruce it up, to bring out the zest and piquancy of this glorious green bunch. Cooked down to a caramely edge and topped with crunchy, roasted pistachio nuts, this is a favourite side in our homes, typically gobbled up to the last crumb with puffy, hot off the stove rotis, coated (lightly) with ghee.
Broccoli Rabe Sabzi
- 1 Tablespoon light olive oil
- 1 Teaspoon cumin
- A dash of turmeric (optional)
- 4 Shallots, or 2 medium onions, sliced thin and long
- 1 Big bunch organic Broccoli Rabe, cleaned and cut into thin and long strips
- Salt and sugar according to preference
- 1/2 Teaspoon pepper powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
- A handful of pistachios dry roasted and coarsely powdered or chopped up
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the cumin and once it crackles, add the turmeric (if using) and then throw in the shallots/ onions. Sprinkle some salt and let cook until translucent, then add sugar and let caramelize for 3-4 minutes, or until you see a brownish tinge appear. Then add the Broccoli Rabe and let cook, covered, until it wilts a little, and add a little more salt, sugar (check taste at this point), pepper and cinnamon, stir fry until the greens completely cook down. Top with chopped pistachios and serve hot with rotis or phulkas.