Chard Challenges

highlight of the garden ~ beautiful ruby and fordhook swiss chard

Swiss chard is a vegetable from my childhood.
Nana always had a patch in her garden, and it was cooked up simply
with a little salt water, then sprinkled with vinegar and dotted with butter.

Back then we boiled greens within an inch of their life;
no wonder we kids couldn’t appreciate the goodness.

Nonetheless, when I had my first home, I couldn’t wait to try growing chard.
I got myself a nice pot and dutifully planted a few seeds.

O Joy, the green leaves sprouted easily and soon I had a little harvest awaiting me. I will never forget the day, I had my little son, only 2 years old at the time, out there barefoot with me in the yard, and when I came to cut the chard leaves from the plant, out came a million earwigs ready to bite!!

That was the end of chard for me, for a long time πŸ˜‰

Past few years I have grown it again, thankfully without earwigs. Last weekend
I went out to cut a bunch, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a GIANT black caterpillar, of the ‘wooly bear’ type. Said caterpillar was happily munching away on a leaf, and I couldn’t bring myself to remove the bug or the plant. I looked him up online; I think it was one of these.

I waited for my son (now 21!) to arrive home before I cut off the whole plant at the base and had him carry it to the woods.

The caterpillar is welcome to the plant, but he can’t live on my deck.
Seems chard is destined to present a little challenge in my garden πŸ™‚

Last night, I cut leaves from the remaining plants. They should grow anew long before frost comes, and I wanted something for dear ISG’s Chard Challenge! Thanks, ISG, for always inspiring me in garden and kitchen πŸ™‚

Here, with kind permission from Jigyasa and Pratibha, is Pedatha’s recipe for Thotakoora Koora. I have substituted chard for the amaranth, and made a
lip-smacking “Thotakoora” Koora Rice (with chard).

“Thotakoora” Koora Rice with Swiss Chard
adapted with permission from Cooking At Home With Pedatha

chopped chard, sans caterpillars!

swiss chard, 1 bunch, chopped
roasted gram, 2-3 TB powdered
oil, 1 TB
Salt to taste

the paste

ginger, 1 in. piece
garlic, 2 flakes
coriander leaves, 1/2 c
green chillies, 4

the tempering

split black gram, husked, 1 tsp
mustard seeds, 2 tsp
turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp
asafoetida powder, 1 tsp
curry leaves, 6-7, with stem

my addition:
1/2 c sona masuri rice, rinsed well and drained


1. Chop the greens roughly, along with the tender stems.
This should amount to about 6 cups after chopping.
mine amounted to about 3 cups, and I should have halved the seasoning,
but the extra worked out great when cooking rice *in* the koora

2. Grind the ingredients for the paste using a little water.

3. In a wok, heat the oil for tempering. Add the gram; as it turns golden, pop the mustard. Lower the flame and add the turmeric, asafoetida, and curry leaves.

4. Add the greens, and stir. Cover and cook (until well done — original instructions).
I cooked partway, to allow for additional cooking time with rice

5. Now, add the paste and salt and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.
here I added the rice and about 1 cup of water, covered and cooked about 15 min till the rice was done

6. Finally, switch off the flame and add the powdered gram.

From the book:
“Serve with steamed rice, or as a side dish in a meal.
Pedatha says, you may substitute spinach for the amaranth”.

pedathas thotakoora koora rice
Pedatha’s “Thotakoora Koora” Rice with swiss chard ~ packed up for
lunch at work today πŸ™‚

What a delicious meal this made! When I warmed it up at noon, the aroma was even more amazing than when I cooked it last night.

This dish is going straight to you, dear ISG, for your yummy swiss chard challenge, with many thanks to you, dear Jigyasa and Pratibha, for your generosity of spirit in allowing me to share another of Pedatha’s delights ~ from the heart and hearth πŸ™‚

chard will keep growing until frost ~ cutting the plant to the base brings healthy new growth πŸ™‚



  1. indosungod said

    The chard looks lovely caterpillar and all. The rice looks delicious. Can’t go wrong with Pedatha. Thanks for the entry and for those lovely words Linda. You are my inspiration as well.

    Thanks for the great chard challenge, ISG! πŸ™‚

  2. Happy Cook said

    Wish i could join you with that packed lunch.
    Looks really yumm. I have never cooked chard, don’t know if i get them here, should try to look for them. Maybe they differ in name here.

    I think it’s also called silverbeet, HC. Come on over for lunch any time πŸ™‚

  3. Ashwini said

    I am planning on plating Swiss Chard, would help me for my salad requirements πŸ™‚
    I have never cooked Chard, they look healthy and fresh!

    If you like spinach, Ashwini, you’ll love chard! πŸ™‚

  4. shyam said

    ugh… earwigs and caterpillars…! Actually I dont mind caterpillars so much – but snails and slugs…uuuuuuuugh! WAR on all things slimy! πŸ™‚

    Shammi you would have freaked at THIS caterpillar! πŸ™‚

  5. Hi linda,
    Ur swiss chard plant looks very healthy. I have a mint in my pot and it looks quite dull and brown. There isn’t enough sunshine these days. I dont know if Iam watering too much or too less. But it doesnt look healthy which makes it look sad…Do you have a mint plant?

    I didn’t plant mint this year — next year I definitely will as I am planning more of a container garden. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the potted plants are too moist or not — I hope it’s growing green for you now! πŸ™‚

  6. Bong Mom said

    I planted swiss chard for ISG’s event but so far have only put them in several dals. That cutting to the base is a great idea, will do that

    Give it a try S — worked like a charm here πŸ™‚

  7. elaichietcetera said

    See now, me, I would gingerly coax said caterpillar onto my finger and find a new place for him to nibble! πŸ™‚ I often have to deal with slugs; when it rains they all come a munchin’ on the greens, and when I harvest I inspect closely, but sometimes I miss one and the poor thing ends up trying to crawl out of the sink or bowl of rinse-water to save itself from drowning; these I also carefully carry outside to a new place. I don’t mind the vegan critters; it’s the predators I don’t care for…I don’t need to name them do I?

    So, you made this like a pulao instead of separate, eh? Sounds like a totally yummy recipe with the roasted chane powder, and I, too, love chard…and beet-greens. πŸ˜€

    Oh pel how did I miss THIS!? you and dear G are of the same makeup — no kill… Hope you are well!

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