One dish that makes even a veggie phobe love veggies again. I learnt this from my mother in law and it has never failed to impress my guests and relatives. Most people do not realise how many vegetables have gone into it and are happy slurping it off…You can use any combination of vegetables, add and subtract according to season. This is the way I made it a few weeks ago.
- Medium onions – 2, sliced lengthwise (2/3 cup)
- Capsicum (peppers) – 2, sliced lengthwise (1 cup) You can use any colour, I had green ones at home, so I used them.
- Cauliflower – 1 big (break into florets) The cauliflower I used, gave me 3 cups of florets.
- Potatoes – 1 big or 2 small, cut into French fries shaped pieces (2/3 cup)
- Carrots – 3-4 medium, again cut into fries shaped pieces (1 heaped cup)
- French beans – cut into 1 inch lengths, 1/2 cup
- Fresh green peas – 1/2 cup
- Salt - 2 tbsp, more if you feel so
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
- MDH Tawa fry Bharwan masala – 2 tsp
- Everest Garam Masala – 1 tsp
- Sambar powder – 1 tsp, heaped (homemade)
- Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp
- Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
- Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
- Saunf – 1 tsp
- Heat the oil in a large wok / deep saucepan / pressure pan.
- Add ingredients for seasoning in order.
- Once the seasonings are sizzling (in under a minute), add sliced onions let fry for a couple of minutes.
- Tip in the potatoes, toss well to coat oil evenly.
- Let potatoes brown a wee bit.
- Throw in the crunchy carrots, toss heartily.
- Paint your dish pretty by adding green capsicum now ( this is when I step back and watch my tricolour curry in progress and swell with patriotic pride!).
- While these strike friendship with each other, go ahead and microwave the cut beans and peas for 5 minutes.
- Add the beans-peas to the simmering wok of curry.
- Once the vegetables are tossed well, add the cauliflower florets.
- Go ahead and dress your curry with all the fragrant powders – add salt, turmeric powder, followed by the masala powders. This dish is very forgiving and you can use any combination of masala powders. My mother in law uses only sambar powder. In that case add some fresh curry leaves too while frying the veggies.
- Sprinkle some water,(about 1/2 cup) cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir every minute to let all vegetables cook evenly. This can get done quicker in the microwave but I have found that flavours and textures develop better over stovetop, what with my tending to it ever so lovingly!
- Mixed vegetable curry is ready to dig in with steamed rice, phulkas. I like it best over steamed rice along with tangy kadhi.
- Add a couple of sliced tomatoes while frying.
- Add fresh coriander leaves to garnish.
- Add any or all of these vegetables too - tender radish, zucchini, even bitter gourd, sweet corn kernels, cabbage, the list goes on…
- Use only cauliflower, or in combination with peas to make cauliflower stir fry the same way.
- Cauliflower is the vegetable used most in this dish, hence I want to discuss the special nutritional benefits of this cruciferous vegetable.
- Cruciferous vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, essential poly unsaturated fatty acids, making them important in a healthy diet.
- According to a study by the American Dietetic Association, eating more than 4-5 servings of cruciferous vegetables per week, has shown to protect against cancer.
- The American Institute for Cancer Research has published results which show compounds in cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables help in stopping growth of cancer cells in all these cancers – of breast, endometrium, colon, liver, lung, cervix.
- Good amounts of Vitamin C (56mg/100gm) and manganese (0.10mg/100gm) in cauliflower makes it an important source of antioxidants. Besides these, it also contains other important antioxidants such as beta carotene, beta cryptoxanthin, quercetin, ferulic acid. All these wonder compounds work to lower the oxidative stress in the body.
- With presence of Vitamin K and omega 3 fatty acids, in addition to a compound called Indole 3 Carbinol (I3C), cauliflower has great anti inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation - of tissues or arteries in our body is a significant cause of cardiovascular diseases. I3C helps to prevent or even reverse blood vessel damage. This compound also helps stomach lining from being invaded by harmful bacteria such as H.pylori.
- Cauliflower is a good source of purines also. Hence, people with gout or other kidney ailments may consider restricting cauliflower in their diet.
- The vegetable also is known as a goitrogen. While it does not create any abnormal thyroid profiles in healthy people, it does help for hypothyroid people to avoid cauliflower.
- Steaming or light stir fry would be the best method of cooking this wonder veggie in order to realise it’s health benefits.