Sunday, 23 September 2012

Roasted Rutabaga Masala

Adorned with cilantro flowers and mint leaves
Roasted Rutabaga Masala
Cooking for the bookclub, a fairly large group, I knew I had to come up with a slightly easier version of my famous/infamous Curried Oxymorons. 

That dish is so delicious, but it requires a lot of stirring, and as I had ten thousand other things to do to prepare (read: clean up the house!) I decided to use a roasting pan, which meant modifications to that recipe.
Among other modifications, since this group has members who literally whimper and moan at the mere thought of a spicy chilli fragment, I needed to tone it down a lot.  Meanwhile, the next night we were having more company, the Kestlers, who love heat, so I couldn’t resist making this dish all over again for them, this time with lots of chilli. 
You can use as much chilli as you like, but I recommend lots. 
Maureen from bookclub presented me with this!

2 tablespoons mustard oil
1 teaspoon dark mustard seed
1 teaspoon cumin seed

½ teaspoon fennel seed
2 large rutabagas, peeled and diced into cubes
1 large red onion, diced
1 sweet long red pepper, diced
1 inch ginger, julienned
1 to 7 chillies (it’s up to you)
10 curry leaves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds roughly ground
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
10 to 20 grates of fresh black pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
½ cup dessicated unsweetened coconut

½ cup fresh or frozen green peas

½ large lime, juiced
In a saucepan, heat the mustard oil on medium high, and toss in a few mustard seeds.  When they splutter, toss in the rest, followed by the cumin, then the fennel.  Fry till the cumin and fennel darken a bit, which will only take a few moments.  Pour the oil and spices into a non-stick roasting pan.

Toss in your cubed rutabaga, onion, peppers, chillies, curry leaves, spices, salt and coconut.  Mix and put into the oven at 350 F.  

You will need to stir this at least three times during the cooking period of about an hour and a half.  
In the last ten minutes, add the peas.  When you remove it from the oven, pour the lime juice over it, stirring well.  
I served this vegan dish as a side vegetable, but if you want to make it the main dish, just add a cup of chopped raw almonds before it goes in the oven.  

Roasting the rutabaga makes it even sweeter and more tender than my earlier version.  Each little rutabaga cube looks like an amber jewel, and it tastes like something out of heaven.  If I’d had some fresh pomegranate seeds, I surely would have sprinkled them on at the last minute, to take this dish to make it even more luscious!

I now know the difference between a rutabaga and a turnip, and I urge you to use only the rutabaga for this recipe.  A rutabaga is a wonderful thing.  A turnip is not.  Clearly in that earlier recipe, before the embarassing update, I did not know what I was talking about!  Does anyone out there actually like turnips?

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