Sunday, December 10, 2006

Indian-style broccoli with spiced yoghurt

Some people, my father-in-law included, think broccoli is almost too boring to eat. I happen to like broccoli, as long as it isn't overcooked and mushy, which sadly it so often is; I admit that I have been known to overcook my own broccoli, but in general I manage not to. Anyway I like broccoli, I love spices and I like natural yoghurt (I have trouble with flavoured yoghurts, but I love Greek yoghurt and bio-active plain stuff; it's when it is oddly flavoured or has fruity bits in that it makes me gag) so this recipe was an obvious choice to accompany a curry.

The curry I made was from this month's Delicious magazine, courtesy of Atul Kochnar who we saw on the Great British Menu in the spring. It is a lamb curry and simple enough to make: just onions, garlic, spices, lamb, tomatoes and water, plus coriander to garnish. No cream, no nuts, no yoghurt. I thought this would work well with Jamie's broccoli so it seemed like an ideal moment to try the spiced broccoli. To make the broccoli dish, I boiled the broccoli for about 4 minutes, drained and tossed in a little oil before grilling it briefly. Meanwhile I toasted cumin and fennel seeds and cardomom seeds before bashing them in my pestle and mortar; I then stirred most of them into the yoghurt with lemon zest and juice and some seasoning. I served the broccoli with the spiced yoghurt spooned over and sprinkled with the remaining spice mix.

The broccoli was very nice indeed - and it looked kind of pretty, which (to my shallow mind) helps to lift it from the status of Boring Vegetable. It went very well with the lamb and simple steamed Basmati rice.

Very nice! In fact the curry was a bit hot for us so the broccoli (while not bland) worked really well with it, calming it down and giving a different depth of flavour. I loved the spiced yoghurt and would make that for all sorts of green veg as well as broccoli (green beans, I could imagine it with, for instance...). Here, broccoli is more than a boring nutritional powerhouse - it actually has taste and texture, for which Jamie (or Amaya, where he says he tasted this dish first) deserves some credit. Curry night can easily be unhealthy, or at best nutritionally neutral - the solution is clearly to add broccoli and some spicy yoghurt!


FreyaE said...

Broccoli is my all time favourite vegetable ever! I always have to eat it alone though because nobody else I know likes it. My mother-in-law goes on and on about sprouting broccoli, which is great, but then she won't touch any other broccoli. Do you think Freya will make this for me?

Helen said...

I have just made this dish for our Christmas dinner (which we had to eat on Boxing Day due to melodrama on the actual day). I planned to do a Jamie Oliver meal and this was part of it. I wouldn't say I'm a terrible cook but I'm far from being a brilliant one. Still, I found this recipe so easy to make. I will definitely be making it with curry in future, and I like your idea of using the spicy yoghurt with other veggies. I was thinking about making his courgette fritters to go with the leftover yoghurt but I'm a bit apprehensive because me and hot oil is not a good combination. But it's an idea!