Menu planning can be a bit of a conundrum, and no mistake.
Sometimes it feels as though you are trying to hammer too many square pegs into too few round holes.
Everyone wants this, but no-one wants that. When exactly does “compromise” turn into “fudge”?
In the end, sacrifices have to be made for the common good, which in my case usually means diluting my desire for capsaicin induced tongue-fury. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man will reduce the amount of chilli in a dish by 85 % for his wife and daughter.
When me womenfolk are away partying for the weekend, I usually take the opportunity to indulge in a spot of chilli-fuelled kitchen mayhem, which makes the choice of this particular dish somewhat ironic.
Afghani Sabzi may not be capable of scorching a solid oak tabletop at forty paces, but it’s a dish I couldn’t resist cooking during my enforced solitude.
It normally doesn’t get a load of action hereabouts, mainly because my girls ain’t too keen on root vegetables or courgettes, which, seeing as they compromise about 80 % of the dish, kind of rules it out most days.
Surprisingly mild, but highly aromatic, it makes a great accompaniment to any curry, and can easily cut it as a vegetarian main course in its own right.
Just don’t forget those chilli flakes…
- 2 medium carrots, peeled & cut into thin batons
- 1 medium swede (rutabaga), peeled & cut into thin batons
- 1 medium leek, halved lengthways and then sliced into half moons
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 medium courgette, cut into thickish rounds
- a handful of walnuts
- a handful of cashews
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground cardamom seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- coconut oil
- fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
- hot chilli flakes (optional)
- Cook the swede (rutabaga) and carrot batons in boiling, salted water until they are just the hard side of al dente – they will finish cooking in the wok later. Drain, refresh under cold, running water, and set aside to drain. Repeat this process for the courgette rounds.
- Heat 4 tbsp of coconut oil in a large non-stick wok over medium heat. Add the mixed nuts, and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add the sliced onions and leeks, and continue to stir fry for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground cardamom seeds, ground cumin, and the salt and freshly ground black pepper. Continue to stir fry until the onions are soft and translucent, about 3 minutes or so. Add a tiny splash of hot water if things are starting to look a little dry.
- Add the cooked carrots, swedes, and courgettes to the wok. Stir fry until the vegetables are done to your satisfaction.
- Remove the wok from the heat. Serve, garnished with the chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), and a scattering of hot chilli flakes if desired.