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Dinner Tonight! | Quick Fix

Cooking Veggies? Think Aromatic

July 18, 2001|MAYI BRADY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Vegetarian food may sound bland, but it needn't be. Plenty of aromatics--such as onions, garlic, a small amount of spices and fresh herbs--can make a world of difference.

For this vegetable dish, a mini-food processor can finely mince the aromatics in no time. I find the tiny pieces of garlic and ginger yield a nice mellow flavor in little cooking time. Ultimately, the spice level in any recipe is a matter of taste, so be judicious. And always add the fresh herbs at the end.

There, oh-so- not- boring vegetarian food. Serve this with basmati rice.

Indian Spiced Chard and Potatoes

Active Work Time: 15 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes * Vegetarian

2 tablespoons oil

1 cup minced onions

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons minced ginger root

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 bunch white Swiss chard, leaves and stalks thinly sliced

3/4 pound small new potatoes, quartered

1/2 cup vegetable broth

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring just until they start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, salt and cayenne. Cook, stirring, until the garlic, ginger and spices are very fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add the chard, potatoes and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the lime juice and cilantro, then serve.

4 servings. Each serving: 194 calories; 586 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 8 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 29 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 3.74 grams fiber.

MENU

Indian Spiced Chard and Potatoes

Basmati Rice

Mango and Coconut Salad

STAPLES

Brown sugar

Cardamom

Cayenne pepper

Coriander

Cumin

Cumin seeds

Garlic

Ginger

Lime

Oil

Onion

SHOPPING LIST

1 bunch green Swiss chard

Cilantro

Unsweetened coconut

Mango

Black mustard seeds

3/4 pound small new potatoes

Vegetable broth

GAME PLAN

30 minutes before: Mince onion, garlic and ginger. Measure cumin, coriander, cardamom, salt and cayenne. Slice chard. Quarter potatoes.

20 minutes before: Begin making chard.

15 minutes before: Make rice and mango salad.

Just before serving: Add lime juice and cilantro to chard.

Mango and Coconut Salad

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Look for black mustard seeds at Indian markets.

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

1/2 small dried red chile

1/8 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Water

2 mangoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

Combine the coconut, red chile, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, sugar and about 2 tablespoons of water in the bowl of a food processor. Process just until the ingredients are well combined and are just starting to form a coarse paste, about 15 seconds.

Toss the coconut mixture with the mangoes and chill.

4 servings. Each serving: 179 calories; 9 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 15 grams fat; 13 grams saturated fat; 13 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.82 gram fiber.

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