We’re gettin’ back to our roots around here. Winter roots, that is, plus the ubiquitous broccoli stems (I confess I’d eat broccoli almost every day if it were available year-round locally). Here’s a fantastic glazed veggie recipe, gleaned from that essential tome, Lord Krishna’s Cuisine, The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking. Yamuna Devi‘s invaluable reference, this encyclopedic guide will learn you a thing or twenty about Vedic cuisine, including many south Indian and Bengali recipes and techniques. Even dedicated carnivores can appreciate the wealth of dishes explained and the breadth of styles explored. Devi, a warm and engaging woman (these Hindus must be on to something), sang back up for the Beatles(!) and has written several other cookbooks, but this text, her magnum opus, constitutes a culinary education.
I first cracked open Lord Krishna’s Cuisine, a treasured gift from a lost friend, almost two decades ago, and the experience, expertise and spirit of Devi (no, I’m not a Hindu) drew in this young foodie as if it were my own bildungsroman of cookery. I grew as a cook, albeit a conscientiously meat-eating cook. You could take away all my other cookbooks–that would be hundreds–and I would miss only cake (I don’t need formulas for frying bacon!). But of course, I’ve been in love with the flavorful foods of the subcontinent for many years.
Though I do sometimes add onions and garlic to Devi’s allium-less recipes (an unfortunate Vedic principle), nearly every dish I’ve tried from her book is perfect. So I respectfully present to you this very slightly modified version of her “Gajar Sabji–Glazed Carrots.”
INDIAN STYLE GLAZED VEGETABLES serves several
- about one pound glazeable local vegetables such as carrots, radishes, turnips, kohlrabi or rutabagas, plus—you guessed it—very well peeled broccoli stems
- 2 Tablespoons ghee or organic butter plus one Tablespoon butter (divided use)—I make my own ghee out of Organic Valley butter. Click to find out how.
- 2 Tablespoons organic brown sugar, light or dark. Central Market’s organic brand is usually the best buy.
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 Tablespoons Texas orange juice—you’ll find Texas oranges, sweet and succulently juicy, at local grocery stores as well as our farmers markets right now. Whole Foods is even offering bagged organic Texas oranges on special right now.
- 2/3 cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice from a local and/or organic lemon—ask your neighbor!
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- freshly cracked black pepper
- chopped local cilantro
Chop your veggies into bite-sized chunks. You can halve or quarter radishes and baby turnips depending on their size. Combine your hardest veggies—carrots, mature turnips, kohlrabi, rutabaga and large daikon radishes–in a skillet or small straight-sided saute pan–I use a 2-quart saute pan. Add the two tablespoons ghee or butter and the next seven ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. I like to use a glass lid so I can keep an eye on the process. Not all cookware lines come equipped with handy see-through lids so check out your local thrift store to find assorted brands of glass lids for a buck or two.
After simmering for 10 minutes, add your tenderer vegetables like broccoli stems and baby turnips. Continue to cook for about 6 minutes or so until the veggies are about done to your liking, then remove the lid and raise the heat to evaporate the cooking liquid, leaving your roots glossily glazed. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter plus the lemon juice and nutmeg, an black pepper and cilantro to taste.
Do eat this hot, preferably at one meal. I have a high tolerance for leftovers but I’ll confide that this dish is best when freshly prepared.