Because the split peas take the longest to cook, they should be started first. They were simmered with sliced ginger and turmeric. I used grated, fresh turmeric for this part of the recipe. Next, the kale was cleaned and chopped into ribbons. Butter was melted in a large saute pan, and ground fenugreek was added followed by minced onion, garlic, serrano chiles, grated ginger, and salt. After a couple of minutes, the kale ribbons were added and cooked until very tender. The buckwheat groats were cooked separately, and they only require about 15 minutes. The last element of the dish was the spiced butter. Butter was melted in a saucepan, and hot paprika, red chile flakes, ground cumin, ground cardamom, ground coriander, ground fenugreek seeds, black pepper, ground ginger, ground turmeric, allspice, and cinnamon were added. To serve, the buckwheat, kale and yellow split peas were plated next to each other and drizzled with the spiced butter.
This was one of those times when I was uncertain what Kurt’s reaction to the meal would be considering I had gone full-vegetarian with it. I needn’t have worried. The serrranos and spices in the kale, the ginger and turmeric in the split peas, and that flavor-packed butter drizzle brought so much interest to the plate. The buckwheat was a chewy, mild backdrop for everything else happening with the dish. I like being on the same wavelength with a cookbook. I bet we’re going to spend a lot of time together.
Buttered Buckwheat with Fenugreek Kale and Spicy Yellow Split Peas
Recipe reprinted with publishes permission from Greens + Grains.
Yes, this does seem like a lot of paprika. Don’t worry about that; the heat comes from the dried chile in the spiced butter. Feel free to use less of that, if you’d like. And yes, the spiced butter uses lots of different spices. While the spices do work together in a balanced and delicious way, you can feel free to use whatever combination you can cobble together. The key is the paprika; whatever else you can or can’t add to the mix, the spiced butter will still add plenty of pizzazz.
1 cup/200 g yellow split peas or chana dal (hulled and split chickpeas)
5 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp fine sea salt
20 oz/560 g kale
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp ground fenugreek
1 yellow onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 serranos or other small hot chiles, seeded and minced
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Champagne vinegar for sprinkling (optional)
2 cups/340 g toasted buckwheat groats
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp hot paprika
1 tsp crumbled dried red chile or red chile flakes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds or ground fenugreek
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp ground allspice or ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
TO MAKE THE SPLIT PEAS: Rinse the split peas and put them in a medium pot with 4 cups/960 ml water, the ginger, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, skim the surface of any foam, and simmer, partially covered, until the split peas are tender, about 30 minutes. Add more water, if needed, to keep from getting too thick or sticking to the bottom of the pot. Stir in the salt. Set aside.
TO MAKE THE KALE: Trim off and discard the tough ends of the kale stems, chop the remaining stems and leaves all together; bite-size pieces are good, thin ribbons are even better. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan or wide, shallow pot over high heat. Add the fenugreek and cook, stirring as it sizzles, about 30 seconds. Add the onion, garlic, chiles, ginger, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently as the aromatics soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the kale. Add 1/2 cup/120 ml water, cover, and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring now and again, until the kale is very tender, about 40 minutes. Remove the cover and continue cooking to let any excess water evaporate, about 5 minutes. Lightly sprinkle the kale with vinegar, if you like. Set aside.
TO MAKE THE BUCKWHEAT: Bring 4 cups/960 ml water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the buckwheat groats and salt. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook, maintaining a steady simmer, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. If the directions on the package for the buckwheat groats you have are much different from the ones here, follow the package directions; different varieties of buckwheat can cook up quite differently. Set aside.
TO MAKE THE SPICED BUTTER: When everything else is ready to serve, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add all the spices at once and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Spoon the split peas, kale, and buckwheat alongside one another into six shallow pasta bowls. Drizzle the spiced butter over the split peas before serving. If some butter spills over to the kale and buckwheat, so be it.
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