Mixed Vegetables with Coconut and Tamarind

See the RecipeLaurie Smith

A medium-bodied white with a spicy character. Try a gewurztraminer, but pick one that's not overtly sweet. See SAVEUR's recommended Medium-bodied White Wines (Aviyal) This is a classic Kerala Hindu dish. See In the Kerala Kitchen for information on Indian ingredients.

Mixed Vegetables with Coconut and Tamarind
These fragrant vegetables are a classic Kerala Hindu dish.
Yield: serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.