Veg Curry, Goan style

(our little stove top, the veggies as they first go in, cooking and lastly, the finished curry)

(kitchen still life, our apartment kitchen in Panjim)

After a weekend of adjusting to a life with a home base and many easy 2-ingredient meals (egg on toast, cereal, fruit salad and cookies, peanut butter on anything, etc.), I felt ready to attempt an Indian dish. We went to the market this afternoon and stumbled on Atosh, the friendliest spice merchant alive. From his shop, we explored jars full of curious things, laughed, tasted sugars, smelled nutmeg pods and shopped happily – with a band of on-looking guys trying to teach us some Konkani. Dave was “toot marok” with the best of them (this phrase means “too expensive” – quite handy!) With the basics in hand; turmeric, chili powder, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cinnamon and a few vegetables, we were armed and ready to cook at home.

(our blue kitchen)

(cinnamon bark, turmeric and chili powder -- my friends in the kitchen)

We blasted Beatles from our computer, with our new little speakers – perfect melodies to feed the creative juices … While D sous-cheffed, I gathered what I’d learned in my cooking lessons so far, and went to work with a hope and a prayer that our dinner would be as delicious as the meals I’ve made with my generous instructors. We shuffle with dull knives, pots with melted handles and only 2 burners (no oven, toaster or microwave), but it’s amazing how fresh ingredients, spices and heat can make the most amazing meals!

I’m learning that you really don’t need many tools in the kitchen and my mind is busy racing with all the treats/foods I can make on the flame. I will perfect crepes, French toast, tortilla Espanola (had this for lunch!), curries, stir-fries, poached fruits and anything else I can come up with. It’s interesting how deleting appliances makes my mind sharp with ideas on what I CAN make, vs. what I can’t. It’s fun. Won’t you guys come over for some tea and curry? I miss everyone.

Veg Curry, Goan style
3 tbps sunflower or vegetable oil
1 large zucchini
1 small red onion
1 carrot
1 small cauliflower or ½ a large one
2 tomatoes
-- all chopped roughly – medium-sized pieces
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1 heaping tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 heaping teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tsp chili powder
1 cinnamon stick, broken into a few pieces
juice from 1 lime
3/4-cup water
salt and pepper to taste
for garnish:
chopped cilantro
toasted cashews
lime wedges
To make:
Heat the oil on medium – add mustard seeds until they begin to pop (careful they don’t pop hot oil on you). Next, add cumin seeds, turmeric, chili powder, and cinnamon pieces – stir for 1 more minute on medium heat. Spices will be very fragrant.
Add onion to spices and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add chopped vegetables and garlic and ginger pastes. Stir continuously about 3 minutes more. Finally, add water and cover the pot – stirring occasionally, cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, until vegetables are cooked through, but still a little al-dente, is how I like it. Cook for 1 -2 more minutes with the lid off, inhaling the good smells. Add lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with cilantro leaves, toasted cashews and extra lime wedges. Serve with rice, chapatti or potatoes (we had potatoes tonight.)

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