STYLE

Avocado and perilla shake and curry with watercress feature leafy greens

10/31/2013 04:53 EDT | Updated 12/31/2013 05:12 EST
Susan Sampson includes recipes for drinks, salads, side dishes, breakfast items and main courses in her new book, "The Complete Leafy Greens Cookbook."

She developed the 250 recipes to give people ideas on how to use 67 varieties of greens. Among them are many favourites, including Fiddleheads with Garlic Crisps and Ethiopian Cabbage Stew. Kale Soup with Roasted Garlic and Smoked Paprika is also very good and many of the ingredients are available at supermarkets.

Here are two other favourites, a sublime shake and a delicious main course.

Avocado and Perilla Shake

Sampson says avocados are often used as a fruit in Asia. "This is really, really a surprisingly good shake," she says.

The result is cold and thick enough to eat with a spoon. Fragrant and pleasantly peppery perilla and lime are the perfect finishing touches. Use Vietnamese tia-to perilla leaves or sesame perilla leaves but if you don't have perilla, substitute an equal quantity of large mint leaves.

125 ml (1/2 cup) non-fat milk

50 ml (1/4 cup) sweetened condensed milk

15 ml (1 tbsp) freshly squeezed lime juice

250 ml (1 cup) ice cubes

2 large perilla leaves, stemmed and torn

1 ripe avocado (about 250 g/8 oz)

In a blender, combine non-fat milk, condensed milk, lime juice, ice cubes, perilla and avocado. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings (about 425 ml/1 3/4 cups).

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Coconut Cress Channa

This is a vegan-friendly main course that's great for a family meal. "It's very smooth, with coconut, water cress and chickpeas. You can use canned chickpeas."

Serve the curry over rice, with chutney on the side. Ghee is Indian clarified butter. It is sold in bottles in well-stocked supermarkets and Indian grocery stores. You can find various types of bottled curry pastes in supermarkets. Avoid the tomato-y tandoori kind. Madras curry paste, which is a good all-purpose curry spice blend, is best in this recipe.

15 ml (1 tbsp) oil or ghee

1 onion, diced

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 cans (540 ml/19 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 can (796 ml/28 oz) diced tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 can (400 ml/14 oz) coconut milk

50 ml (1/4 cup) bottled Indian curry paste

5 ml (1 tsp) kosher or coarse sea salt, plus extra for seasoning

125 ml (1/2 cup) water (approx)

1 bunch watercress, stemmed, leaves coarsely chopped

Hot sauce, to taste

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat oil until shimmery. Add onion and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes, until softened and turning golden. Stir in garlic for 20 seconds. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, coconut milk, curry paste and salt.

When mixture comes to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Add some or all of the water to adjust thickness to desired consistency.

Stir in watercress leaves. Cook until wilted but still bright green, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and hot sauce. Serve warm.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Source: "The Complete Leafy Greens Cookbook" by Susan Sampson (Robert Rose Inc., www.robertrose.ca, 2013).

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