There was Big Bok Choy,
Then there were incessant
Cups of chopped choy.
In went the leek,
Garlic and salt
Green chilli, turmeric
Spicy things all.
Steamed was the mix,
Covered for ten minutes
Stirred now and then
In my li'l kitchen.
Off with the lid
So went the liquid
In went the coconut
Shredded and grated.
Mix it well
Mix it nice
Wait just a minute (or two),
And there's a dish
For your rice!
As in all great literary works, there is much creative licence in this poem too. (One instance of it is that you don't need the rice.) I will not bore you with the technicalities of meter and rhythm, but hasten to assure you that truth has its place in this licentious (poetically speaking) piece.
The weekly shopping expedition resulted in many greens, including a first for me - bok choy. (I've eaten it on the rare occasion, but I have never processed it myself, ever.) I got some fine specimens and though my head told me to search for adequately apposite recipes, my heart immediately knew it would go into only one, a formula I had discovered a few weeks ago when Cynthia wrote about how she made mallum (also mallung, a Sri Lankan dish) for her vegan guests.
The better part of this morning was taken up with cleaning and chopping the bok choy, it came to nearly 12 cups, stalks and leaves together. I had a couple of leeks too, so one of them went into it, sliced. I added some salt, turmeric and five cloves of garlic, minced, mixed it all up and set it to cook, covered, on medium high flame for 10-15 minutes. Stir it every 3-4 minutes. The greens will give off some water so do away with the cover after a while. When the chopped stalks turn a transparent green and the leaves have wilted just enough, add about one-and-a-half cups of grated coconut and cook for another minute or two.
Bok Choy Mallum
In the other mallums I've made, I've used French beans, cabbage and hyacinth beans. With these vegetables, I did not even wait to add the coconut at a later stage, it was a one-shot attempt. With the hyacinth beans, which was more experimental than the rest and did not contain any coconut, I added red chilli flakes (not a cupful, no!), salt and turmeric alone.
French Bean mallum
Truth be told, this is not very different from most South Indian stir-fries but what I'm chuffed about is the absence of oil (other than that contained within the coconut) and water, and the novelty of mixing everything together and letting it cook entirely on/in its own steam!
Your pan needs to be suitably thick-bottomed, or you could end up with some charred coconut and vegetables.
Here are some links I found useful:
Leafy vegetable mallum (mallung)
"Mallum is usually shredded vegetables cooked with spices and grated coconut.- From here
Cabbage is commonly used to make mallum, but Sinhalese also use jackfruit, breadfruit, ash plaintain and unripe papaya."
"Mallum combine one of any number of vegetables (on Sri Lanka, we most often encountered carrot mallum and green bean mallum) with chiles, onions, coconut, and turmeric. Once the ingredients are mixed together in a heavy pot they're steam-cooked over medium heat. Mallum require minimum attention once they're on the fire, and make an excellent side dish."- From here
This goes to Simona of Briciole, who is hosting this week's Weekend Herb Blogging, created by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen and administered now by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once.
Weekend Herb Blogging Leafy vegetables Bok choy Vegetarian/Vegan Gluten-free Humour