my grandmother, dadi, is an innovative cook. this recipe makes a vegetable-filled coconut stew, redolent of cinnamon, curry leaves and cardamom. we eat it with thin rice noodles. the key to this simple stew is to let the vegetables marinate for a few hours. —janki
green beans cut diagonally into 1" pieces
carrot sticks (1" long, 1/2" wide)
chopped onion (1" pieces)
fat sticks of cinnamon
small potato, raw, peeled and cut into sticks (same size as carrot)
cardomom pods, very lightly pressed, so the pod splits open but the seeds remain inside.
curry leaves (about a handful of sprigs)
long green chili, slit down the middle but still whole, seeds intact (you can remove them if you can't tolerate any spice, but with just 1 chili it's not too spicy)
(Kashmiri if you can find it) red chili powder
Put all the vegetables in a bowl (cauliflower, green beans, carrots, potato and onions).
Add the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, curry leaves, green chili, salt, turmeric powder, chili powder, and dhania powder to the vegetables and mix well, making sure the vegetables are coated with spices.
Cover the bowl and let the vegetables marinate in these spices for at least 2 hours. Four hours is preferable.
When ready to eat, put the marinated vegetables in a pot. Add 2 cups of water, or just enough that the water line sits below the vegetables. Bring to a boil, and then simmer, until the potato is soft. Add more water if necessary.
Once the potato is soft, add 1 cup coconut milk and bring to a boil once again, and turn off the gas. The stew should taste velvety. You can add more coconut milk if you would like the stew milder- but I think 1 cup is just right. Taste for salt. Stir in half the cilantro.
Prepare some rice noodles. In a bowl, put the noodles, ladle the stew on top, and top with more cilantro leaves. Enjoy!