Monday, 16 April 2012

Snowy Day Subji, a mixed vegetable dish with lots of protein

Snowy Day Subji, a mixed vegetable dish with lots of protein

What a day it was.  The morning started with the first spring rain, then we had thunder, rocking our electric stations so lights flickered and computers misbehaved, then the milk I was heating for homemade yogurt boiled* over the stove, and  then the rain turned to snow, once again…  It's true that I did get the Sunshine Award that day, but couldn't figure it out because of the state the computers were in.  When it was time to make dinner, I knew I needed red hot comfort food.
Many people think turnip is the opposite of comfort, and I’ll admit that as a child, I thought turnips tasted like I was downwind of someone with a bad case of flatulence.  But with the right spices, they become delicious, as I’ve said before in my post CurriedOxymorons.  I had a turnip lurking at the bottom of the bin, so I grabbed it and the ghee, and went crazy:

Who doesn't need chillies and butter on a day like this?
1 teaspoon mustard oil
3 teaspoons ghee (clarified butter purchased at an Indian grocery)
1 teaspoon dark mustard seed
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 red onion, diced
1 inch fresh ginger, matchsticked
5 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
½ habanero pepper, finely chopped with seeds
2 tablespoons favourite pre-made masala  (mine has lots of chillies and whole fennel seeds, among other good things)
(½ teaspoon fennel seeds if your masala doesn’t have)
1 turnip, peeled and cubed
8 stalks kale, ribbed and leaves torn to small pieces
2 large stalks broccoli, stems chopped and florets chopped, but separated
1 cup butter fried paneer (available at Indian grocery stores in the frozen department)
1 very large sweet red pepper, diced
2 tiny limes, juiced
½ cup pine nuts 
I really went for comfort with this recipe.  Butter equals comfort, right?  Put the heat on under a large non-stick pan, and when it’s hot, add the mustard oil.  When that seems hot, test it with a few mustard seeds.  If they sizzle, add them all.  Add the cumin seeds, and let them sizzle, then immediately add the onion and ginger.  Stir to cool the pan, and turn the heat down to medium.  After the onions have softened and caramelised a bit, add the chilli and garlic.  Add the ghee (clarified butter), then the masala.  If your masala doesn’t have whole fennel seeds, add a half teaspoon of them now.  They beautifully offset the turnip, trust me.  Cook the masala for a couple of minutes, then add the turnip and pieces of kale.  Cook for about fifteen minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally. 

When the turnip starts to get tender, add the broccoli stems only.  Stir and continue cooking.  When a fork easily pierces the turnip, without it being soft and mushy, add the paneer and broccoli florets, cooking for another four or five minutes.  Watch the colour carefully.  You want to keep the broccoli florets bright green, and when it’s nearly tender, add the red pepper.  Put a lid back on the pot, and cook for another three or four minutes.  The pepper only has to be heated through, and a bit soft.  The broccoli should be tender, without a crunch, but still very green.  At this point, stir in the lime juice.  Serve over buttery saffron rice, sprinkling lots of pine nuts over the dish at the last moment.  This dinner really saved my day.  What do you eat when your day has been crazy?  Please drop me a line and let me know!

*the boiling milk made a big mess, but the pot it was in cleaned easily.  Check out my post on my very nice pots and pans, then spend a little money, why don’t you?  If the butter and the chillies don’t warm me up, that surely will! 

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