Sesame Tamari Kale Chips
Makes about 1 cup
(Vegan and Paleo; no gluten, grain, dairy or nightshades)
For some reason kale is trendy. People – possibly those looking for virtuous status more than flavour – add it to juices and smoothies. Yes, it is a good source of many nutrients, but so is prosaic parsley. So I am suspicious about fashion-driven intent and have some lack of enthusiasm regarding flavour. However, kale in this form is delicious. These are like a cross between potato chips and seaweed snacks: full of crunch, snap and savoury pleasure. As a key non-diplomatic validator, most children like them. And the chips can be made in minutes. Eat them warm or store them once they’ve cooled. Any type of kale can be used, but the curly types take a few minutes more to cook.
All leafy greens are alkaline and a good, if not excellent, source of many minerals. Kale is especially high in vitamin C, as well as A and K which require fat for absorption. Its soluble fibre – particularly when cooked – binds with excess cholesterol and enables excretion. Its 45 different antioxidant flavonoids such as quercetin are anti-inflammatory. Like broccoli and cabbage as a member of the cruciferous (or brassica) plant family it is high in indole 3 carbinol. This phytochemical can help lower the high estrogen levels which are growth promoting to many hormone-sensitive cancers.
1 bunch kale (enough to loosely fill a roasting pan); red, green, curly or Tuscan (cavolo nero)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil*
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp tamari or other naturally fermented soy sauce*
Wash the kale and dry thoroughly – dryness is important for a crisp result. Rip or slice the kale off its central stem (which is particularly moist and bitter; discard this). Rip or slice the pieces into about 6 cm (2”) segments.
Combine the oil, sesame seeds and tamari (although tamari is wet like the water you’ve just dried off, its constituents will help the coating caramelise). Add the kale pieces and toss thoroughly. Brush a large roasting pan or oven tray with oil. Add the kale. Form into one layer only, but it can be snug – the kale will diminish by half during baking. Bake at 180°C (350°F) for 8 – 12 minutes. The curly kale will take the longer time. Watch carefully as it can burn easily. There is no need to stir it. As soon as it is rigid and crisp, remove pan from oven. Loosen chips with a metal spatula – they should remove easily. Cool completely and serve, or store in a glass jar.
Shopping and Preparation Tips*
- Olive Oil: extra virgin olive oil is achieved by using cold mechanical pressure rather than the high heat and chemical solvents typical to most supermarket oils. These practices damage oils and the people who eat them. For information on which fats to choose for which purpose and why, see my article on the TIPS page: The Fats of Life.
- Soy sauce: can be a fake, unfermented chemical concoction of caramel colouring, artificial additives, wheat and cheap salt. True soy sauce contains nothing artificial and is naturally brewed for two to three years. It is made by fermenting soybeans with the help of a healthful mould (similar to making yoghurt or cheese); roasted grain – usually wheat or barley – for flavour and fermentation, plus salt. ‘Shoyu’ is the Japanese word for true fermented soy sauce. ‘Tamari’ describes naturally brewed soy sauce which does not contain wheat or other grain. In the supermarket look for organic Ceres brand, or plain only Kikkoman (their other varieties often contain artificial additives including MSG).