Indian Spicy Vegetables

Indian Spicy Vegetables
A week ago, my family and I went to dinner with some friends at an Indian restaurant in town that I have passed several times as it is on my way to the trail where I run.  The bright yellow and red awning out front has always captured my curiosity and I remember thinking that we should “try it” one day.  The day had come.  A friend of my husbands who was working with him that day said to me that we should join him and his girlfriend for dinner there that night.  He knew the owner and told me how he chastised them and walked out one day because the food was “tasteless and watered down.”  “Where is the spices?” he asked them.  Turns out, there is a retirement community that has long lived across the street they explained.  The elderly residents come often to get lunches and early dinners.  Too much spice hurts their stomachs and they stop coming.  Who could blame them.
After we were settled at our table, the owner of the restaurant came over to talk with us.  He would laugh out loud in his accent, telling us the story of our dinner companion criticizing their food.  Apparently, the restaurant owner also had at one time a resturant in New York City and spoke of some famous celebrities that would occassionally stop in.  He explained that he would have his picture taken with them and hang them proudly on his wall.  He went on to say that his wife destroyed them all because the pictures were of actresses!  There were no celebrity pictures on the walls, however, the restaurant was packed. 
They had since made adjustments in the way they spiced the food because it was wonderful.  On this night, it was a Sikh religious holiday.  There were no menus.  There was a large buffet.  Im really not sure what belly dancers have to do with the religious holiday, but there she was all dressed in shimmering greens and golds.  She was as beautiful as she was talented.  With her music turned up, she performed numerous dances for the guests and the last, she used a sword.  Her feminity truly dominated despite the strength and masculinity of the sword with which she danced.  The entertainment was as good as the food.
Inspired to make Indian food at home, I did some research specifically to find a recipe close to something I ate that night.  There was a vegetable dish that was amazing and spicy!  This recipe is based off the Indian Spiced Vegetables recipe at www.epicurious.com, however, I admit to changing a significant portion of it.  These vegetables can be served as a main course or a side and serves 6.
Indian Spicy Vegetables
Ingredients
2 T. butter
1 t. ground coriander
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. tumeric
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cardamom
1/4 ground cloves
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. fresh ginger, grated
1 serrano chile, minced
1 C. water
1 T. sugar
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 green zucchini
1 yellow zucchini
3/4 C. mushrooms
3/4 C. baby carrots
1 C, sweet potato, peeled, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 t. salt
1 C. grape tomatoes
2 T fresh basil, chiffonade
2 t. lime juice
2 T. chopped cilantro
Directions
Put all the spices in a small bowl.  Combine garlic, ginger and chile pepper in another small bowl.  In a third small bowl, combine water, sugar and vinegar.  Set all three bowls aside.  
Melt butter in a large skillet or pot until hot.  Take your bowl of spices and add them to the butter, stirring for about a minute.  Add the bowl containing your garlic, ginger and chile pepper to the spices and cook for about another minute.  Add vegetables to pot.  Stir in vinegar mixture.  Cover vegetables with lid and cook for 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes and basil.  Give it a little salt and cover again with lid.  Cook, covered for 10 more minutes.  Do not raise the lid until the time is up.  Remove lid and add lime juice and cilantro and serve.
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