Kurma's Spring Garden – 'Not Hard Being Chard'

Many people think that these handsome leafy red-stemmed fellows are beet leaves (called beetroot in Australia) but in fact they are rainbow chard, or sometimes called ‘silverbeet’ in Australia. I have 4 varieties – yellow-, red-, pink- and white-stemmed.

red chard:

I have always found chard very easy to grow, and the more plants I have, the more opportunity I can have for daily picking of outer, large leaves to add some interest, colour and nutrition to whatever I am cooking – whether it be soup, dal, curries, pasta sauce, noodles or in rice. In fact they are fine eating raw in salads as well.

like a rainbow:

The butterflies and snails and caterpillars also enjoy them, so I have to be diligent in keeping my eyes open for the hungry visitors. The parrots are always eyeing-off my fruiting plants like my roma tomatoes, but at least they don’t seem to bother about green leaved plants.

my rainbow chard:

Hopefully the parrots won’t be eating my broad beans, or else it will be all-out war. I don’t feel like surrendering those after waiting 4 months for them to fructify.

Kurma's Spring Garden – 'The Bean Within'


My dwarf heirloom variety of Aquadulce broad beans are maturing nicely. Broad beans, sometimes known as fava beans, are enjoyed in many cultures the world over. They are a labour of love to grow, taking at least 120 days from sowing to fruiting. I have 100 plants in various stages of fruition in different spots in my garden, all sown from scratch – literally a couple of large handfuls of dried beans. The flowers are beautiful, and hopefully each will manifest a bean pod after dropping off.

broad beans:

When small, as some of mine are now, you can eat them whole, and they

A Right Royal Rollickingly Robust Rajma

Rajma could be described as the North Indian equivalent of Mexican chili. My version is laced with cubes of protein-rich homemade panir cheese It is robust, nutritious, filling and spicy. Rajma is the name of the bean (red kidney) from which this spicy stew is made, and also the finished product.


Ana C from Melbourne writes: “I would like to know if you can give me a good Rajma recipe. I tried it at a friend’s place and I totally loved it. Thank you.”

Here’s my recipe:

Punjabi Red Bean Curry (Rajma)

Although ideal for a winter lunch, Rajma can be served successfully with any bread or rice selection and as a part of almost any menu. Serves 6-8 persons.

For the beans:

2 cups dried red kidney beans,
3 small bay leaves,
1½ teaspoons turmeric,
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper.

For the spice paste:

1 tablespoon cumin seeds,
1 teaspoon fennel seeds,
½ teaspoon ajowan seeds,
3 tablespoons shredded fresh ginger,
2 tablespoons coriander powder,
1½ teaspoons garam masala,
1½ teaspoons turmeric,
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper,



Dear readers, I am sorry that my posts are a bit sparce these days.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” – Mark Twain

By way of segue, here’s an interesting link to an article on edible flowers.

'The Most Delicious Cauliflower Curry'

Hello bloggees! Excuse my quietness durung September. A few issues needed addressing on the home front. Here’s hoping that October is more productive in Blog Land.

Sarbani Basu of San Francisco, California writes:

“Once I had a cauliflower curry at a friend’s home. It was the
most delicious cauliflower curry I have ever had. Unfortunately she has not
been able to pass me the recipe, but told me that she got it from your book.
Would you please email me the recipe. I would really appreciate if you do. Just a hint if you have more than one recipe with cauliflower: this one had
tomato and potato, cumin and mustard seeds in it.”

My reply:
There are more than half a dozen cauliflower dishes in my books. Here’s the recipe you tasted, it’s from my first cookbook.

potato and cauliflower curry:

North Indian Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes

This is a popular North Indian vegetable dish. Combined with hot Puffed Fried Breads (Pooris) or rice, I could eat this any time of the day and on any occasion.

YIELD: enough for 4 – 5 persons

1/4 cup ghee or oil

1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

2 hot green chilies, seeded and chopped

3 medium potatoes, cut into 1 1/4 cm (1/2-inch) cubes

1 medium cauliflower, cut into small flowerets

2 medium tomatoes blanched, peeled, and diced

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh coriander or parsley

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Heat the ghee or oil in a large, heavy saucepan over moderate heat. When the ghee is hot, add the mustard seeds. When they crackle, add the cumin and saute them until they darken a few shades. Add the ginger and chilies, saute for a few moments, and then add the potato and cauliflower pieces. Stir-fry the vegetables for 4 or 5 minutes or until the vegetables start to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomatoes, turmeric, garam masala, ground coriander, sugar, and salt.

Mix well, reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and, stirring occasionally, cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add water if necessary during this time but don’t over-stir the vegetables. When the vegetables are cooked, add the fresh coriander and the lemon juice. Serve hot.