Here at Ecobloom, we’re plant people. And not just at work either. Many of us start our days making the morning watering rounds around our apartments, and spend the evenings turning fresh herbs into a delicious dinner. The obsession with plants is something that started long before Ecobloom, for many of us.
And just like everyone has a favorite color, each of us on the Ecobloom team has a plant that they adore the most, and that they love to have available in the EcoGarden year round. Since these are many of the same plants that you all will be growing in your own EcoGardens very soon, we thought we’d take some time to share some of our favorite tips and recipes with you.
We hope that you can learn a little more about each of us, and come away with some inspiration for your next EcoGarden growing project. So without further ado, here are our four favorite herbs to grow in the EcoGarden, and the recipes we use them in!
Dill – Arijeet
There are plenty of EcoGarden herbs that I like, and dill is one of them! It is easy to grow, aromatic and adds flavor to your meal. The dish that I make with dill is best served with a tortilla or any other bread. It can also be added as a filling in a wrap. Here it is…
Arijeet’s Shepu Bhaji (Dill paste) Recipe:
- 100-200g dill
- 20g peanuts
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 5-6 tsp cooking oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1-2 pieces chili
- 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions: Heat the cooking oil in a pan. Lightly fry the peanuts, minced garlic clove and the chopped chili pieces. Add the fresh dill. Stir it for a while. Add ½ cup water and ½ tsp salt. Mix it well and it is ready to be served with some pickles. Hope you enjoy the meal!
2. Cilantro – Kirsten
My favorite EcoGarden herb is cilantro (aka coriander in non-American English!), because when we buy it from the grocery store we never use the whole plant and the second half always ends up dying before we can use it! It makes me so sad every time. By using the EcoGarden to keep it fresh, we*ll always have the perfect amount of cilantro on hand to whip up a fresh batch of guacamole for Taco Friday (Swedes are weird and don’t get the Taco Tuesday alliteration…) My guacamole recipe is a little different each time I make it, but here’s the gist:
Kirsten’s Guacamole Recipe (serves 2-4):
- 2 avocados
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- ¼ of a small red onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/4- ½ tsp salt
Instructions: Mix everything together until it’s just barely combined and a little chunky still. Add salt and/or lime juice as needed. Serve with corn chips or my personal favorite – plantain chips! Enjoy!
3. Pea Shoots – Hamza
One of my favorite EcoGarden herbs is pea shoots. Yes, pea shoots… Why? Well.. First of all, they take seconds to grow (okay, maybe not seconds, but a few days!) and also they’re delicious and work great with so many things!
The best part, however, is the fact that you can use the same dry yellow peas that you’ll buy in the grocery store for cooking. They will grow fine and are much cheaper than buying seed packets. They grow fast, and you get this really cool-looking herb too!
So, how do you get growing?
First things first. You want to soak the peas in water for at least 24 hours. Preferably in a container to help them sprout, upon which you can transfer them to the grow bed in the EcoGarden. When they’re ready, here are a few great ways to enjoy them:
- As a Swede, a nice cheese sandwich for breakfast, topped with pea shoots and a glass of milk is the viking’s way to start the day! ;D
- I am bit of a sucker for Italian cuisine.. And pea shoots work with most of the dishes! A favorite dish however is fresh cavatelli pasta with pea shoots… mmmm!
- Or if you want to keep it simple, just make a spring salad with pea shoot & watermelon radishes!
Pea shoots – a delicious plant filled with protein and nutrients. Tastes good, looks great and a great addition to your EcoGarden!
4. Mint – Jayanth
Mint is awesome. What can I say? It is super versatile. Mojitos, tea, food and even toothpaste – it’s used everywhere. Raw, cooked or processed it never fails to freshen up the flavour and mood. Love that smell too.
Mint goes perfectly with coriander in Indian cuisine. How can one not like it? So, here’s a super simple recipe for making a chutney that’ll just take about 10 mins to make (uncharacteristic of Indian cooking :’D)
Jayanth’s Mint Chutney Recipe
This is my mother’s version of the South Indian mint chutney. It can be mixed with rice, eaten with Indian breads or as a dip with deep fried savoury food. Indian cooking is all about experimenting and there is no specific quantity as you can see below. Mess around with the amounts and find your own recipe. You can even call it by your own name, we Indians do that as well 🙂
- 1 cup fresh mint
- 1/2 cup coriander/cilantro
- ¼ cup Curry leaves (if one can find it)
- 1 garlic clove
- Green chili- according to one’s heat tolerance!
- Dried coconut- depends on how creamy you want it to be
- Tamarind- about the size of a marble. You can substitute it with some vinegar or lime to add acidity
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons of oil
Instructions: Heat up the oil and add the chilis. To this add the herbs and garlic and fry them lightly till the raw smell is gone. The frying will also reduce the heat of the chili. Let it cool down. Put this mixture into a blender with the dried coconut, tamarind and salt and blend it into a paste. Done. Sometimes Indian cooking is as simple as that 🙂
And there you have it, our four favorite EcoGarden herbs and some recipes where they can truly shine. We hope you learned something and feel a little more inspired in the kitchen next time you come across one of these herbs. Like always, please share your growing and kitchen successes with us, and let us know if you have any questions! Until then, happy growing!