greens with citrus broth

nigel slater’s recipe for greens with citrus broth jumped out as something to try, as soon as i read his description of “bright, refreshing flavours such as lime, lemon and sometimes tamarind … the whole effect is cleaner and sharper and works well with chicken or green vegetables”.

i stuck to the vegetables with a mix of gai lan/chinese broccoli and normal broccoli.

the paste which flavours this broth is a mix of aromatics including lemongrass, which is always difficult to turn into a fine paste – i used my mini food processor to blitz all the paste ingredients together and it didn’t really get things smooth enough, so the final mouthfuls of soup weren’t great to eat. next time i’d probably chop the lemon grass very finely by hand (the trick here is to leave the root end attached and slice along the vertical as many times as possible, before chopping across the stalks) before adding to the processor.

the broth is wonderful but do bear in mind this is a very light dish due to the lack of noodles and protein!

nigel slater’s greens with citrus broth (serves 2)

for the spice paste:

4 cloves of garlic

4 short stalks of lemongrass

½ a teaspoon of ground turmeric

2 mild green chillies

2 spring onions

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large sticks celery (i missed this out, substituting broccoli instead)

6 spring onions

200g choy sum or other chinese greens

400ml vegetable stock (i just used marigold boulillon powder)

3 tablespoons of lime juice

1 tablespoon of fish sauce

caster or palm sugar to taste

2 teaspoons of dark soy sauce

make the spice paste. peel the garlic and put into the bowl of a food processor. remove the outer layer of lemon grass and discard, then chop the rest roughly and add to the garlic. drop in the ground turmeric, chillies, spring onions and a little oil, about a tablespoon, then blitz to a rough paste.

prepare the vegetables. cut celery into short sticks. cut the spring onions into short lengths, 4cm long. cut the choy sum into large, bite-sized pieces.

warm a large wok over a moderate heat then pour in a couple of tablespoons of oil. add the spice paste, moving it round in the pan for a minute or two till fragrant but not coloured, then add the celery and spring onions. pour in the stock. when it comes to the boil, add the greens, then, when they are tender add the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and soy to taste. simmer for a few minutes till the greens are tender.