Cabbage with Muscles: Brussels Sprouts!
Ever seen those cartoon shorts where there is this endearing looking lil baby animal with Bambi eyes looking so helpless? & the BAM!!! it suddenly lunges at you with fangs & claws bared? (Didn't they have such a lizard in Jurassic park as well, timid chirpy thing that squirted a tarry toxin??). Every time I look at a Brussels sprout, that is what comes to mind!
The first instinctive reaction to a brussels sprout is the same as that towards any tender baby vegetable, the expectancy of a delicate & mild texture.. but make no mistake, one feel of an outer leaf from a sprout instantly reminds you of a leafy equivalent of shoe leather!
This cabbage relative packs a punch in terms of flavor & textural mouth feel. It has a more robust flavor compared to regular cabbage & does not release as much liquid when sauteed. This makes it an ideal vegetable to be roasted or stir fried.
This thanksgiving offering of Brussels sprouts is sauteed in a traditional South Indian Tam bram style. To give it an additional dimension of flavor, I've incorporated a toasted coconut masala (Pitlai masala)to finish the dish. Although not pictured, a handful of crushed toasted salty peanuts tossed in prior to serving kicks this side dish up another notch.
For this dish you need:.
2 cups tightly packed shredded Brussels sprouts
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Urad dal
1 sprig curry leaves
Salt to taste
Pitlai Masala: (Adapted from Viji Varadarajan's recipe for Pitlai podi from her book SAMAYAL, Page 120 )
3 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp Chana dal
1.5 dried arbol chillies
pinch of Asafetida powder
2 tsp grated coconut
Toast all the ingredients to a golden brown on a hot skillet. Combine & grind to a coarse powder.
heat oil in a hot wok and add the mustard & Urad dal. When they begin to sputter, add the brussels sprouts along with the torn curry leaves. Saute for 5-7 minutes till the shredded leaves begin to go limp. Add the masala powder & combine well. Transfer into a serving bowl & serve with hot steamed rice.