Here is a light Indian twist to the Brussels sprouts. These were cooked until tender crisp and flavored with the Indian Mint and Coriander Chutney.
Of all the ways I have had the Brussels sprouts so for, this is my favorite for now. Spicy, tangy amalgamates with a refreshing splash of flavor.
Google returns about 6,750,000 results for Brussels Sprouts. Yet this is a relatively new vegetable for me. Before I moved to this country, I never really knew that a dwarf versions of a cabbage exist. I was curious and fascinated when I saw the entire branch of these cute cabbage like greens stuck to them, quickly trying to process in my mind if they were really cabbages and if cabbages at all grew like that. It was even later, a few years after I first encountered the Brussels sprouts did I dare to bring them home.
Crossing over the oceans and continents to a place where I call home now, meant a lot of adjustments and learning. I missed the food at home, craved vegetables that made my comfort food and they were nowhere to be seen. The town had one Indian store which we visited sometimes with fluttering hearts in hopes to feel at home and brought back shriveled up karelas, tough drumsticks and Lijjat Papad. Most fresh products came from Chicago perhaps just one time in a month. We had no car to explore further. A couple of families we knew were new comers like us, trying to figure out if that thing called Okra was a vegetable or meat.
So we tried to stick to familiar vegetables, only indulging on the innumerable varieties of ice creams and chocolates. I missed home, wanted to eat food cooked by maa and dida and called home when it was two in the night there to ask for a recipe. And we paid about 2 dollars per minute to At&T for international phone calls. That was about twenty years back which feels quite like a different era.
Then we made friends, bought a car and started to explore. I found out radhuni can be substituted with celery seeds, Asparagus can be cooked to taste like Kochur Shaag – a traditional delicacy from home and similar tricks. So when I made Labra, I added Brussels sprouts or used them as a cabbage substitute. During those years, I was trying very hard to learn to cook on a regular basis, and also entertain. What had been my fanciful love of cooking in the past now occupied my entire day trying to decide what is to be done for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was more of seeking comfort than adventure. We were already having a lot of adventure in this place where we knew no one and nothing.
Before I ramble anymore trying to fit in twenty years in a post, I will just say that it was not very often that we ate Brussels sprouts then.
Then we stopped getting them for some unknown reason and I never thought about why. Then one day T came and told me she never ate Brussels sprouts. “ What? Really?! ” I said. “Why?” “Because you never got them, Mommy. Will you get it for me the next time you go to the store?”
With Guilt stuck in me like a lump in my throat, I headed out the very next day and came back with Brussels sprouts. She was curious and I just did a quick stir fry for her for dinner. She loved it and tried to feed them to her sister who would not touch them.
After a period of time, the routine of just roasting these vegetables with garlic and/or lemon, or chopping them to make salad required a break. So I went ahead and added Chaat Masala to them. Next I added a splash of the so called Green Chutney which is almost always stocked in the fridge and which makes everything better.
Brussels Sprouts with Coriander, Mint Chutney and Nuts
Ingredients: (serves 4 as side)
- 3/4 pound Brussels Sprout
- 1.5 tablespoon olive oil (or any other cooking oil)
- crushed red pepper (adjust to taste/optional)
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced onions
- 1 tablespoon garlic, sliced
- salt to taste
- a fistful of almonds or pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1/4 cup Green Chutney/Coriander Mint Chutney
- fresh squeezed lemon juice - adjust to taste
Wash the Brussels sprouts and trim the ends if you want. Save the loose leaves. Toss the old, sorry looking ones. If you are using larger sprouts, you may want to slice them in half.
Add oil to a pan. Add the crushed red pepper and the garlic and allow the oil to heat up with the garlic. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the sliced onions and cook for a couple of minutes until they start to soften. Add the sprouts, toss well for the oil to coat the sprouts. Sprinkle some salt.
Increase the heat to medium high and try to have the halved sprouts face down on the pan and all the sprouts in a single layer. Cover tightly and cook until almost done about 3 minutes. It will soften in its own steam. We do not like ours over cooked as the smell starts getting stronger. Overcooking will also make them bitter. Tender crisp, and still green is the best way to have them. (Adjust cooking time to how well done you want them).
(If you are using a cast iron pan, you may roast the sprouts in the pan in the oven at 350 F until done, about 15-20 minutes. )
Once the Brussels sprouts are almost done, add the Green Chutney/Coriander Mint Chutney; increase the heat, toss well and cook until done and the liquid has all been absorbed. The dish is a dry dish. Once done, add the nuts and give it a good toss, adjust salt, sprinkle lemon juice to finish cooking.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty Level: Very Easy
Serves: 4 as a side
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