Sorry I was so excited that I had to get that out of the way.
Wait, “Whaaa?” …….
“Curry is a blend of spices” you say, “not a plant silly!”
Let me blow your mind for a minute. They are real, and they are SO GOOD, hence the curry leaf outburst at the intro of today’s blog entry. Fresh curry leaves are so amazing. There is no other taste quite like them so if you haven’t tried them before you better get on it. The plant gets it’s name because of their use in curry spice blends. My familiarity with their use is in cooking South Indian style dishes so I used that as a starting point and then took a look in the ole icebox to see what I could create with these bad boys. I spotted a giant bag of Brussel sprouts. In all honesty it was pretty much the only thing in the fridge at the moment so the spotting wasn’t too hard.Sometimes you gotta play with the hand you’re dealt. In fact I think some of the best cooking comes out of near mother Hubbard’s cupboards.It forces you to think outside the box. Ok, brussel sprouts it is, which is exciting because I love brussel sprouts.
“Whaaa?” You say again.”But I’ve never seen Brussel Sprouts in any sort of Indian restaurant silly!”
What are Brussel sprouts? They are essentially mini cabbages. My mind immediately went to a delicious cabbage dish I ate once with coconut and mustard seeds. On this day a dish was born.
1 cup dry shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 tsp fresh ginger
Rest of Dish
1 tbsp coconut oil
12-15 fresh curry leaves
2 tsp black or brown mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds*
1 whole dried red chili
2 lbs of brussel sprouts washed, trimmed, and chopped*
salt and pepper
juice of 1 lime
2) Heat cast iron (or other lg skillet) to medium heat. Add coconut oil and when nice and hot. Then add mustard and cumin seeds.(*You may have noticed there are no cumin seeds in the picture. It is at this moment I realized I didn’t have any left so I had to use ground cumin which is not as good for this so use only as a last resort.) It is important to heat the mustard seeds hot before ingesting them to release the mustard gas. The toasting also helps the flavour. When they start to pop add the dried chili and the curry leaves. I usually say it’s ok to switch oils based on what you have, but in this case the coconut oil flavour really adds to the dish. I think Ghee would be the second best option.
3) Add all the brussel sprouts. make sure they get well coated with the oil and spice mixture, salt and pepper them. You want to encourage nice browning on these puppies so keep them moving around and keep the heat up hot. Just make sure you aren’t burning them, ajust your heat accordingly * The reason why I have chopped the brussel sprouts is to create more surface space to encourage browning. Browning means flavour.
4) Cook the brussel Sprouts approx 8-10 minutes until they are not raw, but not so much that they turn into limp mush. Then add the coconut paste and fry for another 2 minutes for all the flavours to combine. Check for last minute seasoning, squeeze on the lime juice and serve!
This makes an excellent side dish,or can be served own its own. I served it alongside a simple lentil dal with some naan bread.