Microgreens On Your Plate? Ways To Add Them To Homemade Dishes
Image Credit: Unsplash

Microgreens can seamlessly be added to a pasta, Asian fried rice, pork chops, avocado toast or smoothies. But what about an Indian diet? If you largely rely on homecooked food and simple desi recipes, should you just forget about including this nutrient-dense category of foods in your diet? Of course, not! 

Microgreens are young seedlings of vegetables or herbs, which provide higher concentrations of nutrients than their mature counterparts. So be it daily microgreens like spinach, lettuce or methi, or be it exotic varieties like arugula, basil or celery, microgreens are crucial to any diet. If you prefer Indian dishes on a day-to-day basis, it's easy to include microgreens if you're creative. 

Simply chop some spinach or basil into your breakfast omelette or add basil and cilantro to a veggie curry to add more flavour. The intense, zesty flavours of Indian masalas can be complemented by the fresh and slightly grassy taste of microgreens like basil, cilantro, amaranth, celery etc. 

For example, radish microgreens can add a mild peppery kick which contrasts with the robust essence of garam masala. masala dishes. Moreover, the microgreens offer a visual appeal to many colourful Indian dishes 

Enhance Your Salads 

Incorporate microgreens into your salads to enhance both the taste and nutritional profile. Varieties like arugula, broccoli, or pea shoots can be combined with other fresh vegetables, and fruits for flavorful dressing. Do not blend them into your dressing; instead, use fine-chopped microgreens into your salads directly so you can make the most of their aroma. If you're using larger leaves like spinach or lettuce, tear them into bite-sized pieces. Spread the base greens on a serving platter or individual salad bowls. 

Add cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, shredded carrots, and radishes over the base greens and incorporate mixed microgreens over the salad. You can then add your choice of protein, such as grilled chicken, chickpeas, or sliced hard-boiled eggs. Scatter toasted almonds, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds for added crunch and texture and maybe add crumbled feta, goat cheese, or shavings of Parmesan 

Fillings In Roti and Naan 

Stuffing microgreens into roti, chapati, kulcha and naan can be a great idea. Create a filling by combining microgreens like peas, mint, basil, cilantro with ingredients like cheese, paneer, or sautéed vegetables. This adds a layer of freshness to your bread-based dishes and makes them healthier. When it comes to methi, mustard or potent microgreens which have an intense flavour try mixing them into a potato, sattu or chana-based filling so the savouriness pares down their flavour. 

Top Your Chaats Or Raitas With Microgreens 

Sprinkle some microgreens like cilantro, methi or basil on homemade pav bhaji, pani puri or sev puri. The tender greens complement the crunchy textures of the chaat and also cut through the tanginess. You can also use them to enhance raita or yoghurt-based dishes like a dahi tadka or a butter chicken, with finely chopped microgreens which add a layer of freshness and a mild peppery kick to plain old dahi or yoghurt. 

Use It In Stir-fries and Sabzis 

Microgreens are delicate and need minimal cooking time so when you're adding them to your sabzis and Indian stir-fries like a sookhi bhaaji or even aloo posto, you can add them towards the end of the cooking to preserve their texture and flavor. For spicy, masala-based dishes avoid cilantro or amaranth since their aroma can get lost. Consider a layer of microgreens for your biryanis as well since they can infuse a rich biryani with some freshness. Simply layer the partially cooked rice over the meat or vegetables. 

Sprinkle chopped mint leaves, chopped coriander leaves, and a selection of microgreens over each layer and top the layers with the remaining rice. Drizzle saffron-infused milk on the top for colour and aroma. For dum cooking, seal the lid of the pot with a tight lid. Cook on low heat, allowing the biryani to steam until the rice is fully cooked and the flavours are absorbed. 

Growing Microgreens At Home? Here's What You Need 

A microgreen garden can help you out in a big way if you prefer making your meals from scratch. But before you take the leap, let's see what you really need for growing microgreens:

Microgreen Seeds: Choose seeds of plants that are commonly grown as microgreens, such as broccoli, radish, mustard, arugula, kale, or sunflower. 

Growing Trays Or Containers: Shallow trays or containers with drainage holes work well. 

Growing Medium: Use a lightweight and sterile potting mix or coconut coir. Watering can or spray bottle: For watering without disturbing the seeds. 

Plastic Wrap Or Humidity Dome: To create a greenhouse-like environment for germination.

Light source: A bright light source or a grow light over where it will be placed 

Before You Start Growing Microgreens, Make A Note: 

Microgreens prefer temperatures between 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C) for optimal germination and growth.

Adequate light is crucial for healthy microgreen growth. If using artificial lights, provide 12-16 hours of light per day. 

Harvest microgreens when the first true leaves appear. This is usually when they are 1 to 3 inches tall. 

Ensure that the growing medium has good drainage to prevent overwatering and root rot and try growing a variety of microgreens to discover your favorite flavors and textures.