Sunday, September 11, 2011

Haaq, a flavourful leafy green and two stir fries...



Haaq is a leafy green vegetable from mustard - cabbage family. The leaves look like outer cabbage leaves, much darker in color. The aroma and taste is something between cabbage and mustard leaves and the leaves do not get very soft and mushy after cooking like spinach leaves do. I discovered this recently :) On my way back from my cycling expedition in the Himalayas I spent some time in Leh and could not stop myself from buying this beautiful looking vegetable.

I had never tasted this leafy green in my life. Years ago I had watched in a TV show how a kashmiri woman was cooking haaq with mustard oil and dry broken red chillies. My hunt for this leafy green was on since then. I am a sucker for any kind of greens and love to try whatever looks promising. Everything green is always promising !!!

I found haaq on the streets of Leh being sold with other crisp fresh vegetables, many ladakhi women bring their produce to the main market streets and sit patiently to sell them by evening.


They keep munching on the fresh carrots and other things through the day, gossiping with each other and enjoying the sun. I was enthralled to see such crisp fresh greens being sold there and was missing my kitchen big time. I planned to buy a big bunch of haaq and some fresh apricots on the last day of my stay as I knew it will be worth taking the pain to lug them back to Delhi. I made a dessert with the fresh apricots and two simple stir fries using this haaq.


The right side lower corner of the picture shows haaq . It traveled well wrapped in a brown bag and then I kept it in the fridge for another 3 days before cooking it and to my surprise it was still fresh. The topmost picture shows how fresh it was after 4 days of buying it :)

I used the stems too in a soup as I did not want to waste even a bit of this precious green vegetable. That soup was a delight but no picture was clicked as I was too sleepy after coming back....cooking the quick soup for lunch was enough work already :)

The leaves of haaq are just torn in bite sized pieces to cook, that is the way I saw in the TV show mentioned. How foodies remember such things :)

To proceed ... heat 2 tbsp mustard oil and throw in 6 cloves and a generous pinch of asafoetida. Follow with dry broken red chillies and wait till the chillies and cloves are fried. Dunk all the broken haaq (I used about 400 gm) in to the pan, add salt to taste and cook covered, stirring occasionally. The stir fry is cooked when the leaves are completely wilted and soft. As mentioned, haaq leaves do not get mushy like spinach, so they have a little bite but taste really good with chapatis or rice.


The second version is cooked with brinjals. I had heard about a haak-wagun and a few searches on the internet revealed it is just another variation of the simpler clove spiked stir fry. To make a haak-wagun fry the brinjal pieces first with a little salt and keep aside. Use the same oil to proceed like the above simple stir fry, adding the cloves, asafoetida and red chillies one after the other and then the broken haak leaves. Stir fry till wilted and then add the fried brinjal pieces. Cook together for a few minutes covered and serve hot with chapatis or rice as a side dish.


The use of cloves is optional as some people make it without cloves too and that would make a great sir fry too. Any green leafy vegetable cooked in this simple manner will be great actually. I don't know about greens haters but if you are like me, a green bowl of stir fry make a great meal anytime.

Collard greens make a good substitute of haaq leaves, had read somewhere earlier ... After cooking it I feel a mix of mature spinach leaves and a few outer leaves of cabbage can  be good too.

Do you like trying new types of leafy greens?

10 comments:

  1. wat wonderful veggies these locations r blessed with cant take my eyes off from these lovelies..both the green curries r simple but yummy..

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  2. Haak looks good..in both the stir fries. Haak with brinjal sounds eally inersting to me. I am going to try this with whatever greens are available here. The photographs of the vegetables for sale in Leh are great. I am sure, the Ladakhi women must have gotten quite used to being photographed by most tourists... such freshest veggies and the sellers in their traditional dresses... its really photogenic :)

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  3. ur recipes are very healthy...thanx for visiting my blog and for ur comments..

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  4. love ,love,love .I like the Recipe-though I have not tasted Haak.
    These days Sangita I have started adding a handful of tender Drumstick leaves to all daals.Flavour and Nutrition.

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  5. New greens..and looks very interesting..need to find out when I am in mountain area.

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  6. what beautiful fresh produces...heard about haak from another blog. the stir fry looks good. perfect with steamed rice.

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  7. I love leafy greens! You have abundant fresh produce!

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  8. This sounds wonderful. I really love greens and know this would fit right into my kitchen. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  9. i thought Haak was the same as collard greens.. hmm. what is the english name then?
    i've made a similar preparation with collard greens, but dint develop a taste forit.. so i usually add a little spinach as well!

    thanks for dropping by!
    Richa@ Hobby And More Food Blog

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