Saturday, September 19, 2009
A Tale of Two Neighbors Or How Italian Peppers Found their Way Into Indian Food
This isn't a very complicated story. It's mainly the tale of a small town (Sonoma). There are about 9,000 people in our town, pretty shocking when you've been living in LA for a loooooooong time, and were born and raised in San Francisco. Yes, quite a change. Everyone meets everyone sooner or later. I met Ron Mazetta of Mazetta Foods at our local hangout the Basque Boulangerie a number of years ago. We met while discussing food, mainly peperoncini, mainly his peperoncini which is the only brand I buy. He knows I cook Indian Food and I was explaining to him how many times I vamp on a vegetarian recipe cooking with whatever vegetables I find fresh at the Farmers Market. I wrote a post a few days ago where I made a squash and paneer cheese dish and substituted heirloom tomatoes for red bell peppers.
A couple of days later Ron handed me 2 bottles of his deli sliced roasted red peppers. "Try these," he said "next time you make that dish. Let me know how it works out."
So, I tried it. I made the dish again, this time leaving out the heirloom tomatoes and substituting Ron's roasted red deli sliced peppers for the red bell peppers.It worked like a charm, it was fast and flavorful.
I'd never tried it before, but it worked, and I'm going to be doing it again for sure. In fact I think I'll try it in a cauliflower dish this afternoon for lunch, swapping out the tomatoes for peppers.
Here's what I did with Rons' Peppers, without the paneer cheese
1.) 1/2 Tbs of ground coriander
2.) 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
3.) 1/4 tsp of turmeric
4.) 3/4 tsp of garam masala
5.)1/4 cup of dried shredded unsweetened coconut
6.) 1/2 cup of water
in a bowl and put it aside for later
Then, in a deep skillet or Karahi
7.) heat 3 Tbs. of oil.
When the oil is hot add in
8.) 1 dried red chili
9.) a 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger sliced into very thin rounds. Stir that up and fry it a bit, it'll start to darken in color..then
10.) 4 small zucchini diced
11.) 2 or 3 small fingerling potatoes. Stir this around and cook it for about 10 minutes till the squash and potatoes are cooked through.
12.) 1 1/4 tsp of salt
13.)the spice paste you set aside earlier and sliced deli roasted red peppers to taste, about 1/3 cup or so.
Stir it around and cook it up till the peppers are soft and the dish is nice and thick.
14.) 3 Tbs of chopped cilantro and serve it up.
Frankly, it never would have occurred to me to try these peppers in an Indian dish if Ron hadn't suggested it, but it saved all the trouble of roasting and chopping peppers, especially since it would have meant another trip to the store for them since I didn't have any in the first place. They worked magnificently, and I'm definitely going to try them again in other dishes.