Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Temporary Vegetarian

There's a column in the New York Times called The Temporary Vegetarian, and last month, it featured a recipe for "A Vegan Main Dish of Indian Green Beans." Halfway through my two-week dairy and soy hiatus, and this recipe is coming in handy.

Not only is it handy; it's actually very, very good--the sort of vegetable dish I can see myself making again and again. While Julie Sahni, a cooking teacher and cookbook author who created the recipe, says you can make this with cauliflower, eggplant, carrots, or brussels sprouts, I went with green beans tonight. They got plump as they cooked, and soaked up the rich sauce, a savory and spicy mix of ground cumin and coriander, red pepper flakes, and paprika, built up with finely chopped onion and garlic, and thickened with coconut milk.

Sahni suggests topping the dish with sliced almonds which you fry gently, and this is a nice touch, adding crunch and earthiness. A squirt of lime brings out even more flavor. Definitely make a pot of rice to serve alongside the beans; it helps soak up the sauce and temper the heat. We also had some seared scallops (so much for that "vegan main dish" thing--oops), which were also excellent with the coconut sauce.

I'm actually relishing the challenge of avoiding dairy and soy. It's leading me to some great new recipes--and making me so much more conscientious about what I eat.--S

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