February 20, 2012

Curried Brussels Sprouts

Vegetable #9 for NYR# 2 - Brussels Sprouts
The vegetable of the day, and the vegetable receiving the honor of being Vegetable #9 for New Year Resolution #2 - Brussels Sprouts!! I can honestly say that prior to this year, and this lovely new year resolution, there was nothing ... absolutely nothing that made me think of Brussels sprouts in a favorable light. I never had a desire to try them, especially since I read a long time ago that according to a 2002 survey, Brussels sprouts are the most hated vegetable in Great Britain. That's some accolade, there!!  

Total Prep Time: 20 minutes.

  1. Brussels sprouts - 1 lb
  2. 1 small red onion, diced finely
  3. 2 medium tomatoes, diced finely
  4. 1-2 tsp minced garlic, to taste. 
  5. 1 cup vegetable broth**
  6. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  7. 1/2 tsp ground asofoetida
  8. 1 tsp cumin seeds 
  9. 1 tsp grown cumin
  10. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  11. 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
  12. 1-2 tsp ground coriander seeds
  13. 1-2 tsp yellow curry powder, or garam masala
  14. Red chili powder, to taste (optional)
  15. Salt to taste
Preparing the curry ..!
To prepare Brussels sprouts, remove any yellow leaves, trim stems and wash well. Cut each one into two halves or quarters depending on its size. In a lidded stock pot, bring half the vegetable broth to a boil and add onions. Reduce heat to medium, and maintain a simmer to allow onions to reduce. And all dry spices, mix well and add diced tomatoes and garlic, add another splash of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, and again reduce heat to medium, and maintain a simmer to allow tomatoes to reduce and blend with the onions. Add salt to taste and the curry is now ready. At this point, keep heat on medium and gently fold in the sprouts. Cover and simmer, mixing occasionally for even cooking.

Add a splash of vegetable broth, as needed, throughout the cooking process to prevent burning at the bottom.

Gently fold in sprouts & simmer ...!
The finished dish is very moist, but not runny. I served the curry with and over steamed Jeera (Cumin) rice and ate it Indian style - without a fork, and with my hands. This is such a part of my identity, and I don't do it often enough. There are a lot of people who are appalled at the thought of not using silverware. It is such a wonderful sensory experience. Check out this recent article that came out in the New York Times (Mind Your Manners: Eat With Your Hands). 

* If you don't have all the individual spices listed above, just increase the quantity of curry powder, to your taste. When buying curry powder, check to make sure that it either doesn't contain red chili powder. That way increasing the quantity of curry powder allows you to increase the flavor and aroma, without the added heat from the red chili peppers.

** This recipe has no added fat. But you can use 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in place of vegetable broth to prepare the curry as well. Heat oil on medium, add all dry spices and once the aromas are released, add onions and tomatoes. Add salt so both vegetables release their juices. Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Once the curry is ready, just proceed with the rest of the steps. You can still add a splash of vegetable broth if it starts to get too dry, or you can add a splash of water.

Ingredients for Jeera (Cumin) Rice:
  1. 1 cup Basmati Rice (brown or white)
  2. 2 tsp Cumin seeds
Rinse rice well in ample quantities of tap water. In a deep sauce pot, bring to a boil with ample quantities of water. Reduce heat to cook rice at a rolling boil, until tender. For the last 2 minutes of cook time, add cumin seeds to boiling water. Drain.  

Nik's Reaction: Tony had made bowtie pasta with chicken in garlic sauce today. Normally, Nik inhales that. For some reason, he wanted nothing to do with it despite our attempts at scolding, bribing and cajoling him to eat his dinner.  I didn't think he was going to eat to be interested in Brussels sprouts at all .. and he wasn't but the moment I sat down, he said "I want that ... !!". He ate a good serving of Jeera rice with curry (no leaves, mom!). 

My Assessment: I really liked this preparation. I was fully prepared to NOT like Brussels sprouts as most people I know do not like them. But I was pleasantly surprised. They had a flavor similar to cabbage, much milder, but far denser than cabbage. I had read before that Brussels sprouts were sometimes bitter to taste and I did not get that sense at all. Overall, I would say I'd eat them again. 

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