With spring upon us and summer right around the corner, I’m inspired to get outside more, and start hitting the farmers market for fresh produce. It’s also time to start shedding that winter weight and get healthy again, and vegetables are the perfect tonic. Since the south of India is known for its primarily vegetarian diet, and also some incredibly tasty dishes, I looked in Healthy South Indian Cooking by Alamelu Vairavan and Patricia Marquardt for inspiration, and pulled this amazing recipe for Vegetable Kurma. It uses carrots, potatoes, cauliflower and peas, but feel free to use whatever vegetables you like. I also substituted cashew nuts for almonds (since I didn’t have any handy), and, of course, upped the heat quotient by adding more green chilis. While the dish is simple to prepare, there are a lot of ingredients involved, but mysteriously enough, no garlic! Though it turned out great, I think next time I will add some garlic as it can only enhance an already delicious dish. Also, salt to taste as I believe the recipe called for not enough salt.
from Healthy South Indian Cooking (Hippocrene Books, 2008)
by Alamelu Vairavan and Patricia Marquardt
½ cup ground fresh coconut or unsweetened coconut powder
1 green chili pepper
12 raw almonds
1 tablespoon white poppy seeds (optional)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 thick slices ginger root (peeled)
1 tablespoon roasted chickpeas
2 tablespoons canola oil
6 to 8 curry leaves
1 dry bay leaf
3 or 4 slivers cinnamon sticks
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped tomato
2 cups peeled and cubed Idaho potato
½ cup peeled and thinly sliced carrots
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
1 cup cauliflower florets
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1.) In A blender combine coconut powder, green chili, almonds, white poppy seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, ginger root slices, chickpeas. Add 2 cups hot water and grind the ingredients to a smooth paste.
2.) Heat oil in a wide-bottom saucepan over medium heat. When oil is hot, but not smoking, add curry leaves, bay leaf, cinnamon sticks, remaining cumin and fennel seeds. Cover and fry to a golden brown.
3.) Add onion and ½ cup of the chopped tomato to saucepan and stir-fry for a few minutes until onion is lightly translucent.
4.) Add potato and carrots to saucepan. Add turmeric powder and stir well.
5.) Add curry powder and stir-fry for a minute or two.
6.) Add peas and cauliflower to mixture and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
7.) Add ground spices from the blender to vegetable mixture in saucepan plus 2 cups of warm water. Mix thoroughly.
8.) When mixture begins to boil, reduce heat. Add remaining ½ cup chopped tomato, salt and cilantro leaves. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Serve with rice or bread.