There are very few vegetables I don’t particularly enjoy eating, and they generally tend to be curries made with cabbage or brussel sprouts. I guess it is perhaps because sometimes they are over cooked to make them tender, which in turn makes them bland. We once had this conversation with my sister in-law and I about how our mothers tend to over cook certain vegetables and even foods like pasta and noodles just to make sure that we don’t eat food that is half cooked or raw. By over cooking you loose out on the taste, nutrients and texture of the food, however, if cooked properly and with a good blend of spices, then even these foods are bearable 😉
Wikipedia has this about brussel sprouts:- Whatever cooking method is employed, care must be taken not to overcook. Overcooking releases the sulphur smelling glucosinolate, sinigrin. This is the reason many people profess to dislike Brussels sprouts; only ever having tried them overcooked with the accompanying sulfuric taste and smell. Generally 6–7 minutes boiled or steamed is enough to cook, without overcooking and releasing the sinigrin.
So I guess the key is to cook it like as if stir frying, i.e. fast cooked food to ensure that the nutrients remain as well as the taste 🙂
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I fell in love with the wonderfully fresh, aromatic and spicy Thai food, whilst on honeymoon in Thailand. We went to a beach restaurant in Koh Samui and being vegetarian we were well looked after. It was reassuring to know the pots and pans were well cleaned in our view before preparing our food but it meant our food always took longer to prepare.
While we were there we were told that the authentic food is very spicy, so this is a challenge to me as I love spicy food. Towards the end of our honeymoon, in Phuket we went to another beach side restaurant. I asked for the real authentic green curry that the locals would have, to this I was told we would not be able to handle it !! It was a great curry for me I just loved it :D, on the other hand even though my dear husband had it, it was too much for him and as a result he needed a few glasses of drinks to cool him down.
With Thai food the way in which the food is prepared and served is very interesting as it shows that, if you add the correct ingredients at the right time into the curry you get the most of the herbs and spices and that adds to the flavour and entire eating experience. It not only is a fantastic treat to the taste buds but also the eye as all the food is carved and looks beautiful, even the pineapple served after every meal was cut up in such away that you just wanted to leave it rather than eating it up.
The inspiration for my vegetarian version has been created by basing it on a Tarla Dalal recipe as well as looking at ingredients on ready made jars of curry paste and from TV shows. I put more lemon grass and coriander in the paste and less coconut in the curry, or as I did this time, none at all as the rice had coconut milk. This is a great curry to have if you like spicy food, and would like a change from Indian food and don’t quite fancy Chinese.
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As I was growing up most of our Sunday meals was having “bhanda and bhat” – Kidney beans curry and rice (In Malawi, Bhanda is the chichewa word for kidney beans). This would sometimes be accompanied with fresh white bread or thepla (a spicy chapatti/roti). The most comforting of meals and satisfyingly filling. There are many nutritional benefits to these beans, they are excellent in folic acid, iron, protein, thiamine, potassium and B vitamin to name but a few. It is the traditional staple food of the people of Malawi, they would have it with a cornmeal mash and not so spicy beans, to make a complete meal. This is one of the few foods that I miss if I do not have it over a long period of time. It is also eaten in Northern India where it is know as Rajma, not to mention it is used in Mexican and Cajun food also.
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Another very simple and tasty curry, it is just amazing how any kind of vegetable can be made into a curry. Just by adding the basic spice mix to the vegetables and letting them cook to absorb the flavours it turns into a magical meal. This curry goes well as a extra curry to a large meal or makes a quick and simple meal in a few minutes. I think it takes more time to prepare for this curry then it takes for it to be cooked.
Continue reading “Onion & Tomato Curry”
I remember when we were growing up in Malawi we used to grow our own vegetables, and always used to enjoy cooking the first crop of peas into this curry. It is a good combination of sweet and spicy flavours and is another simple curry that is good to serve as a main or accompanying another curry. Over the holiday period my son was taught a particular song about peas from his Montessori for his performance, and he regularly kept on singing that. So it was quite appropriate to have the curry and let him sing the song.
Sugar snap peas are also known as mange tout and are eaten with their pods.
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The most basic and quickest curry to put together, especially if you keep frozen mixed vegetables. After moving to England from Malawi, we used to have a lot of mixed vegetable curry, as we were told it was more cheaper then eating the more exotic vegetables we were used to. This curry is also good to put together when in a rush, as all the ingredients cook very quickly and do not require much preparation.
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When my son was weaning, one of my sister-in-laws told me that parsnips are a good food to introduce him to because they are a slightly sweet and nutty flavour. My son loved them just boiled and mashed. Then just to introduce a bit of flavour and colour, I started adding red capsicums as they are sweet and slightly spicy, so the combination worked well, plus you do not need to add salt or pepper to the mash. Then one day my husband said why don’t you try and make this into a shaak (everyday Indian curry) just to see what it tastes like. It turned out to be an instant hit, the instance flavours of the vegetables and subtle spice mix makes it a good curry. Parsnips are now part of my regularly stocked vegetables like potatoes.
Continue reading “Parsnip and Red Capsicum Curry”