Mixed Vegetables with Coconut and Tamarind
These fragrant vegetables are a classic Kerala Hindu dish.
Yield: serves 6-8
- 1" ball tamarind pulp
- 1 cup finely grated fresh coconut or finely shredded dried unsweetened coconut
- ¼ cups peeled, chopped yellow onion
- 1¼ tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- ¼ tsp. cayenne
- 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 2" × 1⁄4" sticks
- 2 small carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 2" × 1⁄4" sticks
- ⅓ medium eggplant, trimmed and cut into 2" × 1⁄4" sticks
- 1 small zucchini, trimmed and cut into 2" × 1⁄4" sticks
- ¼ lb. green beans, trimmed and cut crosswise into thirds
- 1 fresh hot green chile (serrano or thai), split lengthwise just up to the stem
- 1¼ tsp. salt
- 1 medium seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into 2" × 1⁄4" sticks
- ½ cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
- 20 curry leaves
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- Put tamarind in a small bowl, add 1⁄2 cup warm water, and use your fingers to help dissolve some of it. Set aside for 5 minutes, then use your fingers to dissolve more of the softened tamarind. Strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl, pressing on any remaining tamarind. Set tamarind juice aside, discarding solids.
- Grind coconut, onions, cumin, 1⁄4 tsp. of the turmeric, 1⁄8 tsp. of the cayenne, and about 1⁄2 cup water into a moist paste in the jar of an electric blender, then set aside.
- Put potatoes, carrots, eggplant, zucchini, green beans, chile, salt, remaining 1⁄4 tsp. turmeric, remaining 1⁄8 tsp. cayenne, and 1 1⁄4 cups water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add cucumbers, peas, and reserved tamarind juice, and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add reserved coconut paste to vegetables, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until sauce is thick, about 10 minutes. (Thin sauce with water if it becomes too thick to simmer.) Add curry leaves and coconut oil, and simmer for 1 minute longer.