Wednesday, June 17, 2009

in His footsteps: Vij's at home!

If you missed my posts from our eating odyssey in Vancouver, B.C. last month, then you missed the story of our dinner at the temple of all things Indian and out-of-this-world that is Vij's. There, Vikram Vij, acting in the role of a sub-continental svengali, and his staff produce food that mere mortals such as I thought could only be dreamt of. That is until I opened our copy of the Vij's cookbook. What? You mean the secrets contained within the soothing walls have been let out amongst the rabble. Well, as we in the rabble like to say "Right the fuck on!!" So many wonderments to try, but needing a vegetable dish to go with some curried duck legs (more on that soon, I promise. A wow dish for sure, and NOT from Vij's!), we decided on his Coconut Curried Vegetables. What a fantastic dish, so complex, with a crossfire of flavors coming at you from every direction. Crazy! This would actually make a terrific entrée on its own, and as a side this recipe will easily serve 6-8. Feel free to sub other veggies into it, as well, especially with all the inspiration available at the farmer's markets.
If I can't be at Vij's, at least I can eat like I am....sort of............

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Coconut Curried Vegetables
from Vij's

We had the leftovers for dinner the next night, and if anything it was even better. The flavors came together beautifully, so while not necessary, if you can make this the day before you plan on serving it, it's worth it.- bb
addendum: in response to a comment, I got curry leaves at Fubonn, an Asian market here in PDX. Check one near you and you'll probably find them.-bb

1/2 cup canola oil
25 to 30 fresh curry leaves
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
1 tbsp + 1 tsp chopped garlic
2 cups chopped tomatoes (2 large)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 12 ounce can coconut milk, stirred
1 lb eggplant, chopped into 1-1/2" pieces
1 lb cauliflower, cut into 1-1/2" florets
2 green or yellow bell peppers, seeded and chopped into 1" pieces
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1. In a large pot, heat oil on medium heat. Keeping your head at a distance from the pot, add the curry leaves and mustard seeds and allow them to sizzle for about one minute or until a few seeds pop.
2. Immediately add onions and sauté until golden brown, about 8 minutes
3. Add tomatoes and remaining spices and sauté for 8 minutes or until oil glistens on top.
4. Stir in coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Add eggplant. Cover and simmer to five minutes. Add cauliflower and bell peppers, cover and simmer for another five minutes. Stir in cilantro.

Serve over basmati rice.
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one year ago today @ E.D.T.: a myth busting marinade you need to know about!


Victoria said...

Where do you get fresh curry leaves? I have not seen them around.
thanks! Looks delicious.

bb said...

Victoria...I got mine at Fubonn, one of our local Asian markets.

Gayle said...

Holy Cow! I have been craving coconut curry ever since my fabulous dinner at the Observatory last month. A big fat thank you for sharing this! I will be making it this weekend.

WesternWilson said...

There is a great little market at 6635 Main Street, the Punjab Food Centre. They always have curry leaves. Also they have a great spice, tea, and rice aisles. Lots of tiffins for sale as well...really nice for serving when throwing a dinner party.

WesternWilson said...

I got the Vij's At Home cookbook recently for my birthday and have only just begun to demo the recipes. I made Paneer..home made fresh was easy, good, and tasty although had odd directions (swirl, do not stir? Silly!). I have done a coconut mild based curry that was irreparably bland, and the Beef and Broccoli Stew, which was just pedestrian. Will keep trying!