Sunday, November 25, 2007

Yams - curried, not candied

Sra threw out this crazy challenge a few weeks ago - Grindless Gravies!! With a zillion conditions to boot! :) I think I spent more time thinking about it than I finally spent cooking! Very clever, Sra - this event has made for more conversation than any others recently :)

So, no ready-made gravies - obviously! And no premade/frozen gravies - clever! And no lentils or yogurt-based gravies - yes, that would make it too easy! :) This was actually getting more interesting by the minute :) As I was poking around several cookbooks, I stumbled upon one of my favorites - Vij's Elegant Inspired Indian Cuisine. And then I stumbled upon Suganya's rendition of a vegetable dish from this book. Hmm ... I could rework this to be more gravy-based and use completely different vegetables that were more in season. I finally went with yams and corn - both part of the Thanksgiving theme and available in plenty at PCC.

Curried Yams with Corn and Tomatoes

No grinding required :)

Servings: 2

2 medium-sized yams - sliced into thin half-moons
1.5 cups of corn kernels

3 roma tomatoes - finely chopped

1 yellow squash - chopped
3 leaves of bokchoy - chopped
1 t mustard seeds
1 t cumin seeds
1 t kalonji seeds

1 T coriander powder
1 T cayenne pepper powder
1 t sesame oil

Heat the oil in a wok and toss in the mustard seeds.

Once they splutter, add the cumin and kalonji seeds and stir for a minute.

Now add the tomatoes, squash and a handful of the yam pieces along with the powder spices and salt.

Saute until the veggies are softened and pulpy.

Add about 1 cup of water and gently mash the mixture.
Cook for about 5-6 minutes with occasional stirring.

Now toss in the corn and remaining yams and simmer for another 4-5 minutes.
Yams actually cook really easily (a lot faster than potatoes), so careful about overcooking these - the idea here was the preserve some chunky yams in the tomato-squash-yam gravy.

Ok, so, what could we eat with this Sra-dish? :) We had a bag of frozen methi that we wanted to use up - first time ever that we were going to use that! I have such a hard time using any frozen greens, especially methi - it is so earthy, I can't imagine the flavors would be preserved through a freeze-thaw. Well, it wasn't! But the methi pulav turned out pretty good - very nutty and chewy actually because of the brown basmati rice. The end result was pretty decent.

Nutty Methi Pulav

No grinding here either!

Servings: 4

2 cups of brown basmati rice
2 cups of thawed methi leaves

4 red chillies

1 T cumin seeds
1 T garam masala (I use a homemade version, but pretty much any store-bought masala should do too)

1 t olive oil

Wash the rice and dry it in a plate for about 10 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and saute the cumin and red chillies in it.
Add the rice and saute for about 2-3 minutes, constantly stirring.

Now add the methi leaves along with 4 cups of water.
Toss in the salt and garam masala and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Cook covered on low till the water is absorbed and the rice is fully cooked.
(If the rice does not seem completely cooked, add another 1/2 cup of water, stir and simmer for another 3-4 minutes)

We really liked the combination of this rice with the chunky yam curry - I think the only thing that could've made it better would've been a raita. Or maybe a yogurt-based gravy? But Sra wouldn't want that! :D

'k, Sra, have fun with this one! :)


sra said...

Hi Kaykat! This is quite a different entry, and enjoyed reading your post - you've really thought about this quite a bit!

Nags said...

lovely recipe. unique combo of veggies. a must try!

Padmaja said...

Those dishes look so yum!!you are sending some great dishes!!

Padmaja said...

Those dishes look so yum!!you are sending some great dishes!!

Asha said...

Those two are fabulous, great entries!:)

Happy cook said...

Love the yam curry and the picture

TBC said...

What an interesting dish!
When u say yams, u mean "suran", right?

Seena said...

What wonderful dishes..!

remya said...

superb dishes....gud entry...

Kribha said...

Unique entries. Never had them before. Looks tempting.

sagari said...

methi pulao looksss soo yummy kaykat and curry is very nee thanks for sharing