Collard is a green leafy vegetable that belongs to the same cultivated variety to which belong the likes of cabbage, kale and broccoli. These leafy vegetables have large leaves that are dark green in colour and are grown in countries such as Brazil, Tanzania, Italy, Portugal and India among others. In India, collards are mostly grown in Kashmir and are often referred to as 'haak saag'. They remain available for most parts of the year but are known to be richer in nutrients when grown in winters.
Koshur Haakh (Collard Greens) cooked in Kashmiri style is staple Kashmiri dish. These greens are cooked in a simple preparation, yet taste heavenly. In Kashmir, we use the Kohl Rabi greens. The dish is called Haakh.
There is something heavenly about simply cooked green leafy vegetables. It always has a warmth and a nourishing vibe. No wonder then, it is such a well-loved dish in the whole vale of Kashmir.
These greens are rich in calcium, vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, magnesium and vitamin C. As they are an abundant source of nutrients thus, they have a lot of health benefits too.
Reduce cancer risk
Collard greens consist of a compound known as glucosinolates that isrich in sulphur. The sulphur present in this vegetable can help to prevent or delay the development of cancer cells. They can be essential for fighting cancers like pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer and oesophagal cancer etc. Through various studies, it has been concluded that it can also help to prevent breast cancer in women. Some cooking styles can often reduce the levels of glucosinolates in collards and therefore, it is best to consume them steamed.
Keeps skin and hair healthy
These leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin A, which is necessary for the growth of tissues of skin and hair. Vitamin A also produces a component called sebum which can help to keep our hair moisturized. Collagen levels must be maintained in our body for healthy skin and hair and collards are an abundant source of vitamin C that helps to build collagen levels. Often, hair loss is also caused due to anaemia and collards can prevent this from happening by providing us with a high level of iron.
Keeps your joints healthy
Collard greens are a rich source of vitamin K and also omega-3 fatty acids. Both of these nutrients can help to prevent inflammation in our bodies. Vitamin K can help to regulate our responses to inflammation. These green vegetables consist of choline, which absorbs fat and canalso aid depression as it can stop the excess formation of homocysteinein our body. Collards can also help to increase our bone health as vitamin K helps in cases of osteoporosis and improves our bones' calcium absorption.
Help with digestion
Another benefit is fibrous nature is related to digestion. After all,fibre is often recommended in preventing or helping with constipation and improving regularity, and given the high fibre and water content of collard greens, it's no wonder that this vegetable is often recommended for those who have trouble going.
How to make it :
Haakh – Collard Greens made Kashmiri Style
A bunch of greens [use collard Greens]
1 tsp oil
a pinch of heeng
a few green/red chillies
1 cup of hot water
Salt as per taste
Wash the greens well and set them aside to drain
Cut the greens in broad strips
Add the water and bring it to a boil
Add the greens
stir once or twice
Let it cook, uncovered for about 7- 10 minutes on med-high heat or until the greens are tender. [You can do this in a pressure cooker. Reduce water to one cup in that case and cook on high heat for 4 minutes]
Eat with rice and some plain yoghurt
Enjoy Haakh and stay healthy