Wednesday, May 9, 2018

How Do You Cook Orach?

Orach in spring


Every fall I pull up the lovely orange-and-red seeded orach plants and place them wherever I want orach to come up in early spring. A relative of the weed lamb's quarters, orach is also known as mountain spinach. It is like a slightly bitter, hardy spinach, and it is one of the first edibles to come up in spring. It doesn't bolt like spinach, and it can be eaten till you get sick of it. The high nutritional value of orach is discussed in this article.

Tonight I wanted to cook a large amount of orach in a manner similar to how I once had pigweed prepared by some local Somali Bantu farmers. I didn't have their recipe, but I studied a few greens recipes in a cookbook a friend gave me, Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry. His recipes for collards and mustard greens guided my own recipe.
First I picked an overflowing large mixing bowl of greens by cutting them below the leaves. They will grow more greens in a few weeks. I also cut a Welsh onion, which is a perennial green onion, and some garlic greens. I  soaked the greens in the sink to remove any dirt, and gave everything a rough chop. 


I heated some olive oil and added three garlic cloves, sea salt, about a quarter cup of spaghetti sauce, a tablespoon of maple syrup to cut the mildly bitter flavor of the greens, and two teaspoons of tahini. Then I let it simmer for at least 30 minutes to cook down. I served it with quinoa and dal. Oh my goodness! It was so good!


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Quinoa, dal, and orach







Orach with Welsh Onions and Garlic Greens

1 lb. orach or green of choice
1 Welsh onion or three scallions
3 small garlic greens tops, optional
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 cup spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce
2 tsp tahini or cashew butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
Rinse greens in a bowl of water or the sink. Chop garlic and onions and saute for a few minutes in olive oil. Rough chop greens and add them to the pot. Add remaining ingredients and stir until the greens cook down. Let simmer 20 to 30 minutes to meld flavors and gently cook greens. Serve on grain of choice. Hot sauce to flavor is also nice.

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