Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Gujerati-style cabbage with carrots and Mushroom and potatoes with garlic & ginger

I’ve had Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking book - an offshoot from a BBC series in the early 80’s - seemingly forever.  I used to cook from it growing up  - in fact it is the first book I properly remember cooking from - and was always amazed at the lengthy lists of ingredients. I remember feeling Madhur was educating me in the method of Indian cooking: why onions & garlic are seemingly “overcooked”, the merits of frying whole spices and so on.

I don’t remember if the book was a gift from my mum when I moved out all those years ago or if I simply nicked it figuring I’d use it more but regardless it is well used and loved, and certainly looks it, I don't think there's one clean page.

The following are two very good vegetable dishes adapted from this book: the cabbage & carrots in particular, a revelation.

By the way, this is essentially the same book I believe but my copy (or at least the copy I took with me when I moved away from home many many years ago) looks like this.

Gujerati-style Cabbage & Carrots
Serves 2 with rice and 1 other dish     

175g cabbage
175g carrots
½ fresh hot green chili

2 tbsp rapeseed oil
pinch asafoetida
1½ tsp black mustard seed
1 whole hot dried red chili
½  tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1½ tsp lemon juice

Core the cabbage (this is about a quarter of a medium cabbage) and shred finely. Peel and coarsely grate the carrots. Cut the green chili into thin, long strips. 

Heat the oil in a pan over a medium-high flame and when hot, put in the asafoetida.  A second later, put in the mustard seeds and as soon as they begin to pop (not long) put in the dried red chili which should turn dark red in a few seconds.

Now put in the cabbage, carrots and green chili. Turn the heat down to medium and stir around for half a minute or so before adding the salt, sugar and chopped coriander.

Stir and cook for another 5 minutes or until the vegetables are just done and retain some of their crispness. Add the lemon juice, stirring to mix before serving.

In this second recipe I used probably about half as many mushrooms as I had much less than I thought, and twice as many tomatoes as I can’t read!  More mushrooms would definitely be a good idea but in all honesty the tomatoes seemed about right.  A spot of spinach would probably work quite well here too. Also, I didn’t parboil and peel the potatoes before frying lightly as the recipe suggested which again suits me as I tend to like a bit of skin on my spud.

Potatoes & Mushrooms cooked with Ginger & Garlic
Serves 2 with rice and 1 other dish

140g potatoes, chopped into 1 inch pieces
100g mushrooms, cut into pieces the same size as the potatoes
¾" piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
3 larges cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1½ tbsp plus 115ml water
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp turmeric
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
½ tsp whole cumin seeds
2 whole cardamom pods
140g tomatoes, finely chopped - I used about 275g and didn’t bother peeling them
½ tsp ground cumin seeds
¼ tsp ground coriander seeds
⅛ tsp cayenne
⅛ tsp garam masala
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander

Put the ginger and garlic into a spice grinder or similar along with 1½ tbsp of water. Blend until you have a fine puree.

Put the diced potatoes in a bowl and sprinkle with approx about 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon turmeric over them. Toss to mix and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy, wide pan over a medium flame. When it is hot, put in the potatoes, and stir and fry until they are lightly browned on all sides. Then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Put the whole cumin seeds and cardamom pods into the same pan and stir for 3-4 seconds before adding the tomatoes, the ginger-garlic puree, and the ground cumin and coriander. Stir and fry until it all becomes thick and the oil separates.

Add the rest of the turmeric and the cayenne. Stir once or twice then add 115ml of water, the potatoes, mushrooms and salt. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Cover, turning the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the cover and turn heat up slightly then keep gently stirring until you have a thick sauce. Stir in the garam masala and taste for salt. Serve garnished with the coriander.

Note - you can remove the whole cardamom pods before you serve in case you forget they are in whilst eating.

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