For a girl who is constantly cooking new recipes from all types of cuisines, I’ll admit I’ve been in something of a rut when it comes to Indian food. I’m constantly trying new recipes, yes, but I’m such a fan of Ruta Kahate’s first cookbook (5, Spices: 50 Dishes…. I’ve mentioned it many, many times already) that I find myself , even with a stack of Indian cookbooks on the shelf, cooking almost exclusively from 5 Spices, 50 Dishes.
It was Anjum Anand who finally lured me away from my tried-and-true with a lovely photo of this warm cucumber dish in her cookbook Anjum’s New Indian. A couple years ago I probably would have passed it by, thinking to myself, cooked cucumbers?
But now I know better. It was actually Cambodian food that made me see the light, specifically this Cambodian Curried Shrimp with Cucumbers. When lightly cooked, cucumbers add a delicate flavor and a tender-crisp texture. In this recipe, cucumbers and peas are combined with plenty of Indian spices in a yogurt-based sauce.
Having already made this several times in the past week or so, I feel pretty safe declaring this dish a success. Maybe this will help ease my anxiety about branching off into other Indian cookbooks? Only time will tell.
Indian Spiced Cucumber, Peas and Mint
Yield: 4 side servings
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
* 1-1/2 Tablespoons oil
* 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
* 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
* 1 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 cucumbers, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and cut into thin slices
* 1 cup frozen green peas
* 1/4 cup plain yogurt
* 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
In a skillet, heat the oil over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and immediately cover with a lid or splatter screen. When the seeds stop popping, quickly reduce the heat to medium-high and add the coriander, turmeric, cayenne and salt and give the mixture a quick stir.
Add the cucumber slices and cook, stirring, about a minute. Add the frozen peas and cook, stirring frequently, until the peas are heated through. Reduce heat to medium-low and, while stirring continuously, add the yogurt. Cook for about a minute to let the mixture combine. Sprinkle the dish with mint and serve immediately or let it cool to room temperature.
Adapted from Anjum's New Indian by Anjum Anand