Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Baked Kale crisps - 'guilt' is not the emotion you feel while gorging on this nutritious snacks

The other day when we went out, we took a ferry and went to a charming little island 30 minutes off of downtown. It is a little town in the middle of water (well, I guess that is what they call as islands :-)), hilly roads to walk up and down, a quaint little downtown and beautiful waterfront trails. We saw some boards for bike rentals but unfortunately they were closed on that day. Though it has every potential to be a typical 'touristy' place, I am glad it was not too crowded, mostly just the locals hurrying towards their weekly farmer's market. Yes, that was the highlight, we found ourselves in a small farmer's market lot after a good walk and a very filling panini. I didn't want to purchase a whole lot since we were dependent on public transport but wanted to check out the farmer's market at this new place. Yes, I have this self declared affinity to farmer's markets, for one these are seasonal in most American cities and towns and are open only during the summer months and secondly a visit to the farmer's market invariably is a 'lift me up' on my spirits as I get lost in the memories of the bylanes of Mysore and Bengaluru vegetable markets. And then there is definitely the bonus of bringing home something fresh and locally grown.

So off we went exploring the farmer's market here on the island. The first thing to catch my eye was this gorgeous looking fresh Kale. Now, I love all leafy green vegetables, and I use them in umpteen different ways. Kale is a green on steroids (before I alarm anyone, it was just an expression), it is called 'Queen of greens' for no mean reason. Infact adding a regular dose of Kale in your food has the advantage of cancer protection and lowered cholesterol. If you are a seeker of knowledge, continue reading here for some good information. Since it was not going to be heavy on the back packs, I got a bunch and came home :-). 
I was not sure what I would be making with it when I bought it, I thought may be a good dal or a stir fry or put it in a Huli/sambar. But then I had come across these Kale chips/crisps recipes many times in magazines and online and had also seen a packed bag in our grocery store.  So, I set out to try the new taste. Honestly I didn't have any intention or rather expectation of writing a blog post on Kale chips, there is no recipe really here. But when the first batch came out of the oven, they looked so crispy and crunchy and tasted just like a good chip should - delicious and addictive and convinced me that they did deserve a place on the blog. So here are some last minute (read completely unplanned) pictures to explain the process. As I said before, there is no recipe here so I will try to show you what I did with my pictures and point out the obvious to get the right consistency of the final product.

The only problem with these delicious crisps is that they are not a camera (wo)man's joy and they are not great models for photography. Infact DD said they looked like dried leaves found abundantly under trees during Autumn :-). What can say other than reminding you that looks are deceiving.

How did I make baked Kale crisps?
Pick leaves, wash and wipe thoroughly with no trace of water on the leaves - this is important as any residual water will make the crisps very 'uncrispy' :-) and soggy.
Lay upside down on a cutting board, cut out the middle thick stem and discard. Tear or cut into big pieces, remember it shrinks in size after baking and too small a size will make it burn fast.

Put the leaves in a wide bowl, add salt and freshly ground black pepper on top, drizzle olive oil (just enough to coat the leaves) and work it with your fingers to coat all the leaves uniformly.
Spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes in a pre heated oven at 350F.
When you take it of the oven, they look like they are stuck to the sheet, gently run your finger (if you are ok with the hot surface) or use a spoon to give it a little nudge, crackling, crispy chips are ready to eat.
I also made a batch of sweet potato wedges flavored with salt, pepper and some dry oregano. Dinner plate looked more inviting and healthy with these additions :-)
The crisps look deceivingly like the fallen autumn leaves but go ahead and give it a try. You will be bowled over by the distinct flavor of Kale and the crunchiness of this healthy snack.
  • 8 minutes per batch was perfect for my oven settings, you may want to check after 7 minutes and determine the best time for your oven settings. The leaves should not turn black. 
  • You can add any other flavorings of choice. Sea salt on top would definitely enhance the flavor. 


NamsVeni Pothas said...

really looks very innovative and healthy baked chips are always welcome. i think never tasted before and love to taste it.very nice recipe dear! looking forward for more and more new ones.

Nandita SS said...

This looks awesome. A must try for me :)

Vijayalakshmi Dharmaraj said...

Its interesting...

srinath said...

What is the Kannada name for "kale"?

Nagashree said...

Srinath - I am not aware of a Kannada name for Kale, will look some more. It is apparently called 'Karam saag' in Hindi. I don't believe I had ever seen this in Mysore/Bengaluru either. Here is a link with a better picture that may help you find it locally

Saranya Balaji said...

Interesting post...

Priya Suresh said...

Such a guilt free baked kale chips..A must try.

Shweta Agrawal said...

So colourful and refreshing..Nice pics :)