On the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I stay away for anything that is remotely reminiscent of turkey and trimmings. Inspired by last week’s birthday outing with my sister, I decided to make my own version of Indian vegetarian. What I like most about the food of India is the plethora of breads and sauces that accompanies every dish. I made Saag Roti to complement Mixed Vegetables with Mustard Seed Sauce. The word saag often refers to a leafy green vegetable like spinach, mustard green or amaranth leaves. In this recipe I used spinach. If you would like to try different varieties of Indian flat breads, Kalustyan’s in Manhattan has a nice selection, many of which are quite spicy. I left the heat out of this version because vegetables have a slight kick. One of the things I noticed about a lot of Indian food is that the vegetables a typically over cook. I’ve taken care to prepare the vegetables in a way that keeps them crisp and delicious.
½ cup chopped cooked spinach
1 lbs chapatti flour
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup lukewarm water
Combine flour, turmeric and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer.
Using a hook attachment, drizzle in olive oil until dough forms a ball. Depending on the amount of moisture in the spinach you may have to adjust the amount of oil needed.
When dough forms a ball remove from the mixer place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minute to allow dough to rest.
Remove dough from the refrigerator and divided into 1.5oz balls. Working with one portion at a time and keeping the rest covered, evenly roll out each portion to about 4-5 inches in diameter on a floured surface.
Heat a tawa, griddle, or heavy cast iron pan until hot, oil it lightly with olive oil and cook the roti on each side for about 1 minute. The roti will blister and brown a little. Remove the roti and keep it warm under a kitchen towel until ready to eat.
This recipe for the vegetables may sound a bit labor intensive but if you follow the instruction as I have them laid out, it should not take very long to make. I find that roasting some of the vegetables and steaming some of the vegetables adds depth to the dish and maintains the integrety of each vegetable. The way that I prepare it, is by no means the only method.
Mixed Vegetables in a Mustard Seed Sauce
1 lbs potatoes-fingerling, baby new potatoes, or creamer potatoes quartered or split
1 small head cauliflower-cut into florets
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garlic
2 teaspoons ginger
1 small bunch broccoli-cut into florets and peeled and cut stems ½” pieces-
1 cup carrots cut in ½ inch circles
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon kalonji seeds
¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon minced Serrano pepper
3 (1+1+1) teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1-½ teaspoon ground cumin
2-½ teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
24 ounce dices canned tomatoes
1 cup green peas
1 teaspoon mustard oil
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, season potatoes with olive oil, garlic and about 1 teaspoon salt.
Place on a sheet pan; roast for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
In a medium bowl add cauliflower ginger, garlic, curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt and olive oil. Toss, place on a sheet pan and roast for 25 minutes until tender.
While the cauliflower and potatoes are roasting prepare sauce.
In a heavy bottom sauce pot add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Heat the oil but do not allow oil to reach the smoke point. When oil is hot add seeds. When seeds start to pop, add ginger, garlic and Serrano.
Saute for 3 minutes.
Add ground spices; cook for 1 minute more.
Add tomatoes; let simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste (1 teaspoon salt) but be mindful that the vegetables you will add to the sauce are seasoned. While sauce is simmering; steam carrots and broccoli until firm to the bite.
When sauce is ready add green peas and the remaining vegetables. Simmer for five minutes.
Remove from heat drizzle mustard oil over vegetables and serve with roti. The vegetable are also a nice compliment to fish.