Mom says eat your greens. Health experts want you to choose the dark, leafy kind. With kale, for example, chefs are getting people into eating this nutrient-rich green by creating kale salads, toasting crunchy kale chips, and serving kale braised with garlic and olive. What's still challenging though, is serving other strong tasting dark greens because of their bitter flavor.

Take mustard greens. I never liked them made the soulful way, stewed with a ham hock to a mushy mess, or even the enlightened version using smoky Spanish paprika in place of pig. Instead, it took an Indian dish that is a easily cooked in a skillet to make me love mustard greens. If you like spice and heat, this dish is for you.

For this curry-flavored dish, buy bright green mustard greens with large, floppy, ruffle-edged leaves. You also need a couple of other, particular ingredients. Two are at natural food stores: reduced-fat, unsweetened, shredded coconut and golden, cold-pressed sesame oil. This oil tastes sweet and its smoke-point takes the high cooking temperature used for making this dish.

Finally, get whole mustard seeds. Black mustard seeds are best. Actually deep bronze in color, they taste less bitter and sharp than yellow mustard seeds, which are okay to use.

Serve this south Indian side dish with grilled tofu, cooked red or black lentils or shrimp.

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Curried Mustard Greens

Makes 4 servings.


  • 2 (10 oz.) bunches mustard greens
  • 5 tsp. sesame or canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds or yellow
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. mild curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. reduced-fat, unsweetened, shredded or flaked dried coconut
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Rinse greens and shake off excess water. Holding a leaf in one hand by its rib, with stem pointing up, with your other hand, grasp both leafy sides and hold them together, like closing a book. Starting at stem end of leaf, pull down and tear leaf from stem and center rib, all the way to tip. Stack stemmed leaves and chop into roughly 1-inch pieces. There will be a big heap of chopped greens.
  2. Set large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat pan. Add mustard seeds and cook, shaking pan often, until seeds look grey and start popping in 2-3 minutes. Add onion, curry powder, turmeric, pepper flakes, if using and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until onion is golden and translucent, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add coconut and half the greens. While stirring, cook greens until coated with oil and collapsed enough to gradually add remaining greens. Continue stirring, adding 2 tablespoons water at a time to keep greens from sticking to pan. When greens are crisp-tender and onion lightly browned, serve immediately.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
120 calories
7 g total fat
2 g saturated fat
12 g carbohydrate
4 g protein
6 g dietary fiber
336 mg sodium