Sunday, October 21, 2012

Spicy Brussels Sprouts with Curry Leaves

It is hard to decide whch photo to put at the top of this post. Brussels sprouts are a very intriguing looking vegetable, but what makes this dish truly unique are the curry leaves and some other spices used in this recipe.

Did you even know that there is a curry tree that grows these very fragrant leaves? I had not been aware of that for a long time, assuming that curry is just a combination of different spices (which by the way do not include curry leaves) and altogether probably the most known Indian spice mix. But my neighbor grows a small curry tree in a pot and he introduced me to curry leaves. Whenever I need curry leaves and have no time to make a trip to my local Indian food store I borrow from him a brunch.

Curry leaves impart a spicy, peppery, and very distinguishable taste. Last week when I bought seasonal Brussels sprouts on stalks I thought about making curry with it. But not in a heavy, thick sauce but rather sautéed in curry leaves and other spices. First, I cooked Brussels sprouts until almost soft and then I fried spices and curry leaves and added them to the Brussels sprouts. Crispy and flavorous spices contrasted nicely with the soft and sweet vegetable. It is an unusual concept of serving the Brussels sprouts but, if you are one of these special people who love Brussels sprouts, it is worth exploring.

Spicy Brussels Sprouts with Curry Leaves (Serves four)

2 lb Brussels sprouts,
1 tsp turmeric,
1 tsp ground ginger,
1 onion, chopped,
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp whole cumin seeds,
2 tsp mustard seeds,
1 tsp ground cumin,
1 tsp ground coriander,
1 tsp dhana dhal (coriander seeds),
about 12 fresh curry leaves,
olive oil for frying,
salt and pepper.

1. Put Brussels sprouts in a large pot, add a tsp of salt, turmeric, and ginger. Pour just enough water (about 4 cups) to cover Brussels sprouts and bring it to boil.

2. Cook for about 20 minutes uncovered until water reduces and Brussels sprout becomes soft. (When Brussels sprout is soft there should still left some water on the bottom of the pot).
3. In a heavy duty frying pan heat the oil until very hot. Add mustard seeds and when they start to pop, add whole and ground cumin, dhana dhal, and curry leaves. Continue to fry until the spices start to turn brown.

4. Turned the heat to a low and add to the spices chopped onion and garlic and fry for about 3 minutes until onion softens.
5. Transfer cooked Brussels sprout and remaining water the to the pan, mix gently to cover with spices and cook for about five minutes until Brussels sprouts become infused with spices. Serve alone or with rice.

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