Friday, August 6, 2010
When I named my website The Colors of Indian Cooking I was thinking about the colors of the many, many spices used in this cuisine, from the gold of turmeric, the deep crimson of kashmiri chili, the sable browns of cumin and coriander and the vivid yellow-orange of saffron. As it turns out, the colors that have been turning up have been the colors of Indian vegetables. These vegetables aren't necessarily Indian, but since they're used in Indian recipes, just roll with me here.
It all started with the blue beans I found at the farmers market. Once I started with that, I was out to discover what else might be out there. That's when I discovered carrots didn't just come in orange.
I couldn't wait to cook them and decided that I needed to invite others over to share the colorful veggie wealth. I planned a Summer Sunday Indian Brunch.
One of the best things about Summer in Sonoma is the entertaining. A lot of the time it can involve indoor picnics in the Summer as it can get too hot to be outdoors on some days. This Summer however has been unusually cool. We had a longer, cooler wetter winter and this Summer has been pretty mild if not downright cold some days. This last Sunday however was perfect, sunny and warm with a gentle breeze. Exactly right for dining on the deck overlooking the neighbors' vineyard.
I gathered a bunch of brightly colored vegetables and a bunch of bright friends and decided to see what would happen when I put them all together. I settled on a menu of about 4 dishes. One of the first invloved my lovely yellow carrots.
I was a little scared using them as I was afraid they'd revert back to orange the same way my blue beans turned green the minute they were cooked. The I remembered. these carrots weren't going to be cooked. This was an easy to fix, fast, raw salad, a twist on the Indian cabbage salad that I make all the time. This is what to do:
In a food processor, shred about 1 lb of peeled carrots (yellow if you can get them!)
When the carrots are shredded place them in a bowl and set them aside. Add in 2 and 1/4 cups of chopped fresh tomato. I used red tomatoes, because that's what I had, but if you've got green or purple that would be so cool!
1/2 cup of peanut powder
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of sugar
1 and 1/2 Tbs of fresh lemon juice
And finally I blended in 2/3 of a cup of Tropical Traditions' amazing shredded coconut. Ever since they sent me a sample to try in my Indian cooking I have been having a ball with it. I put in in nearly everything I can.
Now for "The Dressing".
In a small pan heat 2 tbs of vegetable oil. I used more Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil since they've sent me some of that too and since there was coconut in the salad, I wanted even more coconut flavor in the "dressing".
*A little note about that "dressing." It's not really dressing; it's more of what Indian cuisine calls a Chaunk, a mixture of spices and seasonings bound in a hot oil and then added to food before serving.
So back to the hot oil. When it's heated toss in:
1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
When the mustard seeds start to pop, add in:
1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
1/4 tsp of turmeric
1 Tbs of fresh green chili seeded and chopped finely.
Once the other things are added give them a stir or two and then take them off the heat. You're done.
Pour the oil and spices over the carrots and tomatoes and all the rest of it.
Scatter 3 Tbs of chopped fresh cilantro leaves over the salad give it all a mix, and chill it for a bit.
Here's how it all looked on the table.
More to come, including A Tale of Two Cauliflower, The Price Is Right! Plus a Giveaway! Of delicious Tropical Traditions Shredded Coconut! Keep reading for more!