Monday, 3 February 2014

Kale The Super Vegetable

Food is among one of the many ways I explore and experience culture,  cooking and eating traditions including a range of newer unknown ingredients, produce and spices. This helps me create unique and exotic recipes and improve the meals and eating habits picking best practices. 

Kale is one such thing that I have discovered lately eating at some American friends home and seeing them being sold plentiful at grocery stores.
Sauted Kale topped with toasted pine nuts

Kale is a cruciferous vegetable from the Brassica family, Brassica oleracea is the name used for; cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, Chinese broccoli, and collard greens. However instead of forming heads, Kale are loose leaves growing from stems.

Sauted Kale and cherry tomatos flavoured with garlic and salt served with sunny side up  makes a healthy breakfast

Kale holds the reputation for being one of the healthiest leafy vegetable on the planet. Its nutrition profile made it extremely popular among health conscious people and placed it on the top list of super foods. Kale has been the most eaten vegetable in middle ages specially in Europe, it is a vegetable for colder regions, however is highly adaptable and hardy.

Kale Chips makes great snack and appetizer
Kale is primarily popular for high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K -- and sulphur-containing phytonutrients. Carotenoids and flavonoids are antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds. One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Kale Chips-Rub some olive oils and salt on washed and dried Kale, bake them at  high heat for 15 minutes or untill crisp

  I have experimented sowing the Kale seeds early November last year. I sowed Kale Lacitano, and Red Russian Kale, after a good 7 weeks, looks like the experiment worked,  they are growing happily in several big and small terracotta
Red Russian Kale at 4 weeks
pots, almost 8-12” tall now. The soil mixture I used contained 2 parts soil, 
1 part compost and 1 part organic fertilizer. Seeds are thinly raked into the soil and cover with a ¼” layer of compost. The sprouts show up within a week, and in 5-6, weeks time the plants are fully grown ready to harvest. During the growing season, all we need is to to side fertilize it with some good quality organic fertilizer or some liquid or granular commercial vegetable fertilize.
Full grown plant of Red Russian Kale

Kale Lacitano also called Dinasaur Kale

I keep harvesting the bigger leaves and the new leaves keep growing. The plant in general produce for two years before it bolts. Kale is a cool weather crop, however it is hardy and have abilities to acclimatized in most weather, just the taste varies with the weather conditions, sweet in colder weather and gets stronger and bitter with the rising temperature. I yet have to see its growth pattern in the scorching heat of Karachi summers.

The super vegetable can be cooked in to a range of healthy and sumptuous dishes by sauting, stir frying, steaming or baking. The taste is tremendously enhanced with the use of onion, roasted or fried garlic flakes, lemon, herbs and tomatoes. I don’t use much of spices with kale besides salt, pepper, and some fresh red/green chilli flakes. 15 great Kale recipes

Stir fried Kale with roasted tomatoes

Kale and Orange Juice drink
Kale also makes great drink, simply blended in health drinks like chilled smoothies, and fresh fruit cocktails. I experimented blending it with fresh orange and or grapefruit juices, adding apples, or making smoothie with low fat yogurt and berries of your choice. Adding some honey to your Kale drinks help mellow down the bitter after taste of chlorophyll of these greens.

It is time home gardeners and commercial farmers begin growing Kale for market consumption. We should not miss out on this goodness of nature. 

 For home-gardeners, it is an initial expense to get Kale seeds from any online vendor that mail seeds to Pakistan or having one of your friends or family bring it for you if they are traveling from UK, USA, Canada or Europe.


  1. Nice post, I bookmark your blog because I found very good information on your blog, Thanks for sharing more information
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  2. The beautiful photographs of the healthy kale are forcing me to have it first thing in the morning as soon as I get kale.Thanks Farah for helping me towarda a healthy diet...

  3. So generous of you to share these recipes Farah, these bread look so awesome and healthy at the same time. Would you be able to recommend which brand of locally available yeast to use ? Thanks a ton :)