Alison's Lunch

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spicy Indian cabbage & potatoes

spicy Indian cabbage & potatoes

As noted in the story above, this recipe is based on one from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Seductions of Rice. I happened to have a bunch of shallots while I made it this time, so I used them all up in this recipe, but usually I just used onions and garlic. Adjust the amount of chiles to your taste. Serve this with brown basmati rice (recipe below), and if you want, a bowl of red lentil dal alongside.

1 to 1 ½ pounds green cabbage
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small dried red chiles, or ½ teaspoon red chile flakes
1 teaspon cumin seed
2 bay leaves
2 cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces
2 green cardamom pods, smashed, OR ¼ teaspoon whole cardamom seeds, crushed lightly
1 cup thinly sliced shallots, OR 1 large onion, diced, and 2 garlic cloves, minced
3 medium potatoes, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (or half a can of diced tomatoes)
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons minced ginger
½ cup water

1. Quarter, core, and slice the cabbage into ¼-inch strips.
2. Place a large pot over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the oil, then when the oil is hot, toss in the chiles, cumin, bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon stick, and cardamom. Stir briefly and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until cumin is fragrant, then add the shallots or onions & garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the potatoes, tomato, salt, and sugar. Cook for 1 minute, then add the cabbage, turmeric, and ginger and stir and turn to coat the cabbage. Cook for 1 minute, then add the water, bring to a boil, and cook, partially covered, for about 15 or 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. The potatoes and cabbage should be tender and the flavors blended. Taste for salt, and add more as needed. Remove the lid and cook for 5 minutes to reduce the liquid, then mound onto a plate and serve.

brown basmati rice

I learned this technique from Mollie Katzen’s Mollie Katzen’s Vegetable Heaven. The rice is cooked using lots of water, which I find works perfectly for brown basmati—it’s never gummy or undercooked this way.

1 ½  cups uncooked brown basmati rice
2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt

1. Fill a medium-sized pot with 10 cups or so of water (it doesn’t need to be exact) and bring to a rolling boil. Add the rice to the water, turn down the heat, and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the rice is just tender.
2. Drain the rice in a strainer over the sink, and immediately dump rice back into the hot pot. Cover tightly with the lid and let steam OFF THE HEAT for 20 minutes. Fluff the rice.