Brussels sprouts, resembling tiny, tightly closed cabbage heads are members of the cabbage family and were first cultivated in Belgium, and hence the name. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of folate, potassium and vitamin K. They have the same cancer-inhibiting potential as cabbage and broccoli.
While buying brussels sprouts look for ones that are compact, bright green and firm to touch. They should not have yellow or wilted leaves. They don't take long to cook and can be steamed, sautéed, microwaved or boiled.
In spite of all these benefits, most people are apprehensive about them. It is because they have a slight bitterness and it is what I like about ‘em. If properly cooked and flavoured with right spices, they are delicately nutty. In this recipe, the acidity from tomatoes and sweetness from the bell pepper compensate for the bitterness, while creamy cashews take them to the next level. The spices used in this recipe are minimal, not overpowering the delicate flavour of brussels sprouts.
Brussels sprouts – 1 lb, about 20
Whole cashews – ½ cup
Tomatoes – 2, big, chopped
Red bell pepper – 1, cut into 1 inch squares
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Asafoetida – a pinch
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Turmeric – ¼ tsp
Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Cut the stalks of brussels sprouts and peel off outer leaves that are damaged. Wash and halve them. Some leaves will fall off, reserve them too for cooking.
Lightly toast the cashew nuts in a pan until golden brown. You can also roast the nuts in a 375F oven for 5 minutes, turning them once. Be careful not to burn them.
In a pan, heat oil on medium heat and splutter mustard seeds. Then add cumin seeds and asafoetida and roast them for few seconds. Remove pan from the heat for a minute and add chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Stir them for a minute, return the pan to heat and add tomatoes and brussels sprouts. Cover and cook, taking care not to break the brussels sprouts halves. Sprinkle water if necessary. When they are half done, add red bell pepper. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes or until brussels sprouts become soft and bell pepper retain their crunch. Remove from heat. Season with black pepper, if desired.
Just before serving, stir cashew pieces and cilantro into the curry. Serve warm with rotis or rice.