Recipe: Tamari-braised kale with shichimi togarashi

This is the little fella that caught my eye in the store...
This is the little fella that caught my eye in the store…

I am not generally an impulse buyer, but some things you see and think, “This would be a great thing to have in my life.” Seeing a little bottle of shichimi togarashi at the Tesco Express near Parkinson Court (one of the conference buildings for IOP Magnetism 2015 at the University of Leeds – more updates soon!) was one of those times. Even though it cost quite a bit more than I would normally fork over for spices, $2.50 for a specialty ingredient is a relatively small indulgence, so I feel pretty good about it.

Simple ingredients, simply prepared.
Simple ingredients, simply prepared.
Getting a slight brown on the garlic before tossing in the kale.
Getting a slight brown on the garlic before tossing in the kale.

Anyway, then I had to come up with ways to use it, and I had all this extra kale in the fridge, and things just kind of went from there. I added a dash of tamari for salt and umami and a tiny bit of maple syrup to cut the saltiness of the tamari, but I really wanted the togarashi to be the star of the show. I made this as a quick side dish to some leftover chili (having had chili bean salad for lunch, I felt like I needed a break from chili spices!) and it was pretty great. Next time, I might try adding some minced ginger with the garlic. You could definitely swap a shallot or onion for the garlic as well. Honestly, you could substitute red pepper flakes for the shichimi togarashi, but it would miss the subtlety that the roasted citrus peel and other ingredients provide. I’m looking forward to trying this lovely spice blend on popcorn, scrambled eggs, and soba noodles in the future!

Just added the kale and drizzled with tamari and maple syrup.
Just added the kale and drizzled with tamari and maple syrup.
I stirred the liquid ingredients around, added the spice mix, took a photo, and stirred again.
I stirred the liquid ingredients around, added the spice mix, took a photo, and stirred again.
Done and yummy!
Done and yummy!

Tamari-Braised Kale with Shichimi Togarashi

Adapted from Unchained Kitchen.

Yield: 1-2 servings.

1-2 tsp olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 small bunch kale, chopped (~2-3 handfuls)
1 tsp tamari
1 tsp maple syrup or brown sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp shichimi togarashi

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium high and add the kale. Sprinkle with maple syrup (or brown sugar), tamari, and shichimi togarashi and cook until wilted, stirring frequently. Continue to cook until liquid has mostly evaporated and lightly coats the kale leaves. Serve immediately.

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