During spring, the Armenian mountain slopes and meadows, their fields and woodlands become a sea of edible herbs. The city markets offers neatly tied bunches of these edible greens in various shades of emerald. Freshly foraged greens are packed with essential minerals and vitamins.
These spring superfoods are a most welcoming produce, loaded with nutrients of all sorts they rejuvenate and replenish our organism after the long winter vitamin deprivation.
More than 300 types of edible vegetables have been known in the Armenian cuisine used as:
- salads, or pickles,
- used in soups and sided dishes,
- baked, sauteed, steamed, or salted.
Wild asparagus, nettle, wild sorrel, spinach, sibekh (sickleweed), sindz (salsify), tarragon, mint, mandak (astrodaucus), shoushan (wild chervil), purslane, thelook, sindrik (solomon seel)
…these are the names of the few beloved edible greens that are prevalent in all regions of Armenia.
Sibekh is a queen of spring green.
Sibekh has its unique place in the myriad of edible herbs. It is considered one of the noble greens and is served on Easter as a festive dish.
I am fortunate enough to be able to grow it in my small garden and it grows vigorously now throughout.
It has ones herbaceous notes from a faint carrot flavor to distinct sibegh flavor that is unique for this plant.
In Armenia, they make soups and omelets, saute and stir-fry with this green.
After I harvest the young sibegh clusters, I cut the roots and discard the rough and dead leaves. Giving them a quick rinse, I submerge them in salted water for 20-30 minutes. The salt not only loosens the dirt and dust but also kills the unwanted bacteria. After that, I rinse them a few times until no soil sediment is seen in the water.
Steam them in a little bit of water for 10 minutes until most of the water is evaporated.
Drain and give it a quick chop. Put the pan back on the stove and melt a tablespoon of butter. Place the chopped greens and stir fry them. Season it with salt and pepper and reduce the heat to let the butter soak into the fibrous stems and leaves.
In a small bowl whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt. Evenly pour the egg mixture over the sibekh, cover, and cook on low heat until the eggs are set.
- 500 gram sibekh
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Thoroughly wash and clean the sibekh. Place in a saute pan, pour boiling water so that it almost covers all the greens. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover the pot with a lid and let simmer for 10 minutes or until the stems are soft.
- Strain sibekh in a colander. Use the same saute pan and melt the butter.
- Chop the sibekh into bite size pieces and add to the melted butter. Stir and fry the greens in the butter for 2-3 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with salt and pepper.
- Evenly pour over the fried sibekh and stir with the spatula. Lower the heat and let it cook until the eggs are set.