Greetings, readers of the Pretty Polymath! Thank you so much Hetal for thinking up this wonderful idea.
For those who have not run into my blog before, my name is Aneela and I blog at The Odd Pantry. I write about food with a focus on regional Indian; I frequently wander off into cultural or scientific claptrap; and lately I’ve been exploring the science and social impact of genetically modified crops. I can cook, I can write, and I’ve been known to take the occasional mediocre-to-decent photo. But here is the message I want you to take away from this guest blog, even if you forget my name and my blog address and never think about cabbage nor carrot again in your lives — I hate curry! No, I don’t hate the dish or the dishes that are called by that name. But I hate that word!
My problem with the word is that it can mean whatever you want it to mean. For Westerners who know Indian food mostly through restaurants, curry means a gloopy reddish-brown dish with random stuff floating in it. An Indian cook who is intimately familiar with the simplicity of home cooking might apply that word to a basic cabbage stir-fry that has perhaps some turmeric or tomatoes thrown in. She might call that a curry because that is the word people use to describe her cuisine, not realizing that by calling it that others are imagining an undecipherable gloop, completely inaccessible in its methods and its ingredients. You spend maybe 15 minutes in your kitchen in a procedure that is simplicity itself; but people are hearing elephants trumpeting and sitars buzzing and Emperor Akbar’s marble kitchen firing up the tandoor.
A word that means everything means nothing. If you want to know how this word came to be, please read this public service blog post I did a while ago.
Anyway. If this tempts you enough to want to visit my site and perhaps leave a comment or two, maybe click around hither and thither, and subscribe yourself and some spouses and children and distant cousins to boot, I would not be averse to it. Really, I wouldn’t.
This is a very simple stir-fry that I grew up eating. In my family we had this with chapatis or rice about once a week. We made it solely with cabbage, but here I have thrown in some julienned carrots for color and added nutrition. It is a fantastic, simple, quick dish to put together as you will see. My main goal is to demystify Indian food for people who perhaps are still intimidated by the thought of having to purchase many spices. This one only uses a few.
- Half a head of cabbage shredded, or, third of a head of cabbage and couple carrots, julienned
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-4 fresh green chilies, according to your heat preference, sliced thin
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder, freshly ground if possible
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons oil
Heat the oil in a wide, thick-bottomed pan on a medium-high flame. When it shimmers, put in the mustard seeds. They will soon pop. Then?add?in the chilies and the garlic. Wait till the chilies look blistered and the garlic looks shriveled. Then it is time to add the cabbage and carrot.?Toss it around to cover with oil. Let it cook on medium-high for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have shrunken down some, and possibly some pieces show edges of brown. Now is the time to add the dry spices and the salt and stir nicely. Cover, turn the heat to medium-low, and let it cook for another 5-7 minutes and you are done.