You just know it when something doesn't sound quite right. Examples abound. Giving Chrysler several billion dollars to flush down the toilet? Come on, would you trust anyone who produced the PT Cruiser? Sending Mario Batali AND Gywneth Paltrow to run around annoying the country of Spain? What, did someone in Spain piss off an PBS producer at some point? I could go on. For our purposes though I'll relate it to this recipe. I've had this Food and Wine Magazine article that has had several delicious Indian dishes (here and here for example) filed away for some time, meaning to make this fresh veg curry. But it just didn't seem to have enough kick in its original version. Indian food is all about vivid, complex flavors. The FandW version had maybe two strong flavoring agents.. As w says, any good Indian dish has to have at least, at a minimum, three and hopefully more of the basics: chili pepper, cumin, cayenne, ginger, turmeric, etc. The recipe below, which paired beautifully with a perfect piece of grilled wild sockeye salmon, fills that bill nicely. It is easy, wildly adaptable to various veggie ingredients (I subbed fresh spring asparagus for their suggested green beans), and beats the hell out of some steamed broccoli!
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Fresh Vegetable Curry
adapted from Food and Wine Magazine
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely julienned fresh ginger (from a 2-inch piece)
1 jalapeño, seeded and cut into thin strips
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 small tomatoes, coarsely chopped
One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup water
3 carrots, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound butternut squash (neck only), peeled and cut into 1-by-1/2-inch pieces (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 to 1 pound fresh asaparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
Basmati rice, for serving
1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion, ginger, jalapeño and bay leaves and cook over moderate heat until softened, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and turmeric and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and mash lightly until just beginning to soften, 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and water; season with salt. Bring to a boil.
2. Add the carrots, cover and simmer over low heat until crisp-tender, about 12 minutes. Add the squash and beans, cover and simmer until tender, 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Serve with basmati rice.