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Stir-Fried Asparagus with Nigella and Nuts

 

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The bunched spears of asparagus splendidly speak of spring.  They are at their best now – tender, fresh and slim.

 

 

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This is a relatively new vegetable for me. I did not “naturally” grow up with it.

 

Asparagus Stir Fry Diptych 1

 

 

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However, over the years I have observed that the appearance of the asparagus in the market marks the beginning of spring.

 

 

 

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Presently they are stacked up high in every market and are better than any other time of the year. Bright green, with beautiful photogenic tips in shades of purple.

 

 

Asparagus Diptych 2

 

 

I have also learned that they are healthy and full of nutrients. Besides all that, I have learned to love it and experiment with them just beyond steaming and searing with pepper.

 

With time I have learned to fall in love with them. Kalonji or Nigella is a spice I often use. I grew up it and the flavors remind me of home, of traditional Bengali cuisine. The recipe today combines the freshness of spring with the familiarity of comfort of my home; asparagus with nigella.

 

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Stir-Fried Asparagus with Nigella and Almonds

 

Ingredients: (serves 2 as side)

  1. 20 small spears of fresh asparagus (discard tough ends and slice each spear in half inch pieces)
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. crushed red pepper, to taste
  4. 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic (optional)
  5. 1 green hot chili pepper, slit
  6. scant 1/2 teaspoon nigella/kalonji/kalo jeera
  7. 3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted or lightly toasted pine nuts
  8. lemon juice to drizzle
  9. salt to taste
  10. may add fresh herbs, like mint – if you want

 

 

 

Method:

 

In a cast-iron skillet or any heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil until smoking hot. Add kalonji/nigella and the slit hot chili pepper and garlic (if using).

When the spice sizzles, add  the asparagus, along with salt and stir well. The asparagus should be well coated and glistening with oil. Continue to stir-fry over high heat for about a couple of more minutes, until the asparagus looks bright green and just barely cooked. The should still be crisp and will not have wilted.

Add the crushed pepper and quickly stir some more. Add the toasted almonds or pine nuts, toss and switch off the heat.

Add lemon juice, toss and serve immediately. (add herbs before serving if you are using herbs)

 

Preparation Time: less than 15 minutes
Cooking Time: less than 15 minutes
Difficulty Level: Very Easy
Serves: 2

 

 

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14 comments to Stir-Fried Asparagus with Nigella and Nuts

  • A delightful combination and dish! Lovely pictures too. I especially like the ones of the asparagus.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • It’s one of my fav vegetable and I can never get enough of it! I like it grilled, roasted, pan fried, soup and sometimes I give it an Indian touch and add it in poha :)

  • Love this vegetable..specially roasted with garlic and olive oil…
    have never tried chopping them up and using nigella..will def try.
    first time tried to use apricots in cooking…came out well.
    http://www.dayeetasworld.blogspot.nl
    ;-)

    cheers,
    d

  • Soma this is an absolutely ingenius way to use asparagus. I never would have imagined to eat it this way. Yet, we always have it on hand, and nigella seeds too (use it often in Arabic breads), so this is one I must try!!

  • love this stir fry….so healthy yet simple

  • I love the asparagus click…so beautiful…
    Nice combo of flavors – love it

  • healthy stir fry.. nice presentation

  • This looks crazy good!

    Is Nigella the same as caraway?
    We Armenians use caraway seeds quite often in cookies.

  • mohana

    Just loved the simplicity and beauty of the entire process.

  • I love asparagus but must admit that need to find new ways to prepare them…this is perfect!

  • Harpreet

    I was looking for a recipe that would give an indian touch to asparagus and this is perfect! A must try for me tonite. Love the pictures too.

  • Simple and full of flavor Asparagus dish,Soma!Love it!

  • Nasreen

    must try this kalojira & asparagus

  • Jenna

    Hi Soma,

    Thanks for this excellent combination!

    When I made it, I found this dish a little on the greasy side (perhaps I did not use quite enough asparagus – and certainly I would say the two most important ingredients to get right are the salt and the lemon juice) but my main tip here concerns the garlic element.

    As this dish is being stir fried at high heat, the addition of the garlic at the point you suggest (ie, at the start) will almost certainly result in burning. So my personal recommendation would be to add the garlic at a point midway between the first and second sentences of your method description (ie, once the asparagus has been turned in the oil and cooked a bit). Or even a little later, along with the almonds.

    Apart from this – which I hope may help those who will try this dish in the future – many congratulations on coming up with an enjoyable recipe!

    Happy cooking!

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