Borage and a Stir-fry

Borago officinalis

Borage, sometimes known as Starflower

(in German Borretsch, or “Gurkenkraut” – cucumber herb)

The borage took a while to get established this year; after the snails tried nibbling it, the slugs also had a go (yes – despite the bristly stems!), and the remaining plants finally started growing in the heat and drought of August. Since September though, they have been looking fabulous, filling in spaces where early poppies and spring bulbs left gaps.

In Germany it is one of the seven herbs used in the “Grüne Soße” -Green Sauce. It is also often added to cucumber salad. It is good for you, containing plenty of vitamin C, and as a herbal remedy it is said to help with stomach disorders, and ease symptoms of the menopause and rheumatism.  I have often used the pretty flowers in salads and for decoration, but recently decided to try the leaves… supposedly similar to spinach….

They are slightly prickly, rather hairy, and quite leathery too. I must admit I was sceptical!

Stir-fry with Borage

This is not really a recipe. Every time I make a stir-fry I add different vegetables – whatever is in season or in the fridge!

Today there were some spring onions and carrots, sliced; a little zucchini and some tofu, cut into small chunks; peanut oil for frying; dark miso paste, garam masala and black pepper for seasoning; a few nasturtium leaves, and some udon noodles. Oh, and a spoonful of leftover sweetcorn! And of course a handful of borage leaves, which were added to the wok right at the end of the cooking time.

With the flowers as decoration it certainly looked good…

The verdict? Tasty! The leaves have a freshness that is hard to describe, but you can taste them beside the other seasonings.  They do not, however, overpower the other flavours at all. If you don’t have any spinach or chard at hand and want to add some greens to a dish, this is a great alternative. The texture is firmer than spinach, similar to that of sage. The prickles and hairs are undetectable after cooking!

A succesful experiment. And a delicious stir-fry!

What do you like to put in a stir-fry?

48 thoughts on “Borage and a Stir-fry

  1. Grow all kinds of herbs, pots and pots and pots – yet have never potted ‘Gurkenkraut’ – remember that from childhood in Europe but did not even realize it was borage! Amends will have to be made – it’s still spring!! Had a vegetable stirfry on hokkien noodles for lunch: emptied my fridge but ‘boringly’ just used oyster sauce and a tad of sesame oil! Tasted good tho’ 🙂 !

  2. We have borage in the garden as flower, not as herb. The blue stars are so interesting. What is stir-fry? Wok cooking?

  3. I’ve never used borage in cooking – it’s interesting to hear that hairs disappear after cooking. This year the borage failed completely which was a shame because the bees love the flowers… maybe next year?

  4. Hihi, the middle flower in the middle picture looks as if it has horns 😉 I´m normally not very keen on cooked vegetables, but your stir-fry looks really good!

    • Oh yes! Or hairy ears? 😉 That’s the beauty of stir-fries – the veggies are barely cooked and don’t get too soft. You should try it – get the oil really hot first, then fry in small quantities quickly. Great for using up odds and ends!

  5. Like others I’ve never tried the leaves, it self-seeds like mad on my allotment so I’m forever yanking the extras out, now I have something to do with them other than compost ! Thanks Cathy !

  6. I have never grown borage until this summer, and I was so happy with it – I will definitely grow it from now on! I’m pleased to see that I can cook the mature leaves – I just used the young leaves fresh in salads (yummy!) and the flowers, of course! Thanks for the recipe suggestion! 🙂

    • I have never tried the young leaves raw… I hope they aren’t too hairy at that stage. I’ll have to go out and look for some young leaves to try today before the cold front comes at the weekend!

  7. Now that is a great stir-fry indeed! Miso paste and garam masala!!! Two of my favourite condiments but I have never used them together!! I can only imagine what a gorgeous fragrance coming from that stir-fry! I will definitely be adding that to my next stir fry Cathy! I’ve also never used flowers but I think they add such a touch of luxurious beauty. Will get some from the supermarket for that added touch next time we have guests for dinner. Your dishes are always a thing of beauty. Sharon

  8. Borage grows everywhere around me here in Lazio. I like the idea of the stir fry, I’ll try it. Here the leaves are often coated in batter and fried – delicious but not great health wise. Great in Pimm’s too, of course. Christina

    • Sounds good deep-fried! I’ve never had Pimms, although I’ve heard it is supposed to be served with borage… one day I’ll try that! Thanks for commenting Christina!

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