Passport to India: South Indian-style Green Beans, Spicy Cauliflower & Red Lentils Tarka

Passport to India: South Indian-style Green Beans, Spicy Cauliflower & Red Lentils Tarka

July 25, 2015 Recipes Uncategorized 0


We’re suckers for Indian food. And you can’t get better Indian food than that created by Madhur Jaffrey! Even her vegetarian recipes stand alone, which is hard to achieve in our meat-obsessed world. Jaffrey has pared down her once complicated recipes for those of us with less time, and she doesn’t sacrifice flavor. These three Jaffrey recipes are plate-lickin’ good, full of fiber, protein, minerals, vitamins and give that digestive kick you only get from this region of the world.

I’d suggest making the tarka first, then cooking the cauliflower, and finally the beans. You can serve basmati rice or naan as accompaniments. You may want to double the recipes for leftovers, since Indian food is so much more delicious next day!

Red Lentils Tarka – serves 4

What you’ll need:
1 1/2 cups rinsed red lentils
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
generous pinch of asafedita (garlic powder is a great substitute)
1 tsp cumin seeds (I use a bit more)
3-5 dried, hot red chiles (optional)

What to do:
Wash lentils in several changes of water. Place in
heavy sauce pan with 5 cups of water and tumeric. Stir and bring to a simmer. Do not let boil over! Keep the lid ajar and simmer for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and let simmer as you do this next step.
Put oil or ghee in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the asafedita or garlic powder. A second later, add the cumin seeds. Let the seeds sizzle for a couple of seconds, then add the chiles. As soon as they turn dark, (a matter of seconds), pour this pan’s contents into the red lentils and stir. Cover with the lid immediately to trap the aromas and turn heat off.

Spicy Cauliflower

What you’ll need:
1 medium cauliflower–the head separated into small bite size florets
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 cloves of garlic–chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt

What to do:
Heat the oil in a pan large enough to hold the florets in a single layer.
Add the fennel and mustard seeds and sauté until they start popping.
Add the turmeric and the cayenne.
Add the garlic to the pan and let it colour lightly.
Add the drained florets, salt and 3 tablespoons of water.
Cover and cook for 10 minutes–or until the cauliflower is almost tender

South Indian-style Green Beans

What you’ll need:
450g green beans
3 tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
½ tsp whole cumin seeds
½ tsp whole brown or yellow mustard seeds
½ tsp whole sesame seeds
1 tsp cayenne pepper

What to do:
Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add one tablespoon of salt and then the beans. Boil for 4-5 minutes, or until the beans are just tender. Drain immediately and leave in the colander.
Put the oil in a frying-pan and set over a medium-high heat. When hot, put in the cumin, mustard and sesame seeds. As soon as the seeds start popping, a matter of seconds, take the pan off the heat and add the beans. Stir. Put the pan back on the hob, turning the heat down to medium-low. Stir for about one minute, adding half a teaspoon of salt and the cayenne pepper. Serve immediately, and enjoy!

Many libraries carry Jaffrey’s cookbooks. You can also find them on Google Books.