Vegetable Jalfrezi

aka Subzee ki Jalfrezi

Vegetable Jalfrezi is a mixed vegetable curry, containing both tomatoes and bell peppers. Beyond that, I’m not sure what else identifies it. I’ve seen a broad range of recipes with diverse procedures under this name. This particular dish comes from Vegetarian Indian by Shehzad Hussein. This could be served by itself with rice or Indian flatbreads or as part of a larger meal as a side dish.

This jalfrezi recipe has panir in it. Most jalfrezi recipes I’ve seen don’t have panir, but it is nice in this dish – it contributes a nice dairy note. You can find it at Indian groceries, mostly – I’ve never seen it in a regular supermarket or even in a Whole Foods. Too bad. It’s high in protein and not especially high in fat, as cheeses go. It’s like dairy-based tofu: you can use it plain or fry it, but it will pick up the flavors of whatever you put it in with.

This is very much like the jalfrezis I’ve had in restaurants, thought it has no onions. You could cook it in clarified butter instead of oil if you wanted a more authentic-tasting dish and more cholesterol.. It calls for mango powder (Hindi name: amchoor), which you can also find at Indian groceries or do without – you could add some lemon juice at the last minute instead – but it’s not quite the same thing. I promise to put up more recipes that use it just in case someone goes out and buys a package of it (any package you buy will probably be a lifetime supply) – the almond potato recipe that’s already up uses it too.

5 T. oil (well, that’s what it called for – I think I used about 3 T.)
1/4 t. mustard seeds
1/4 t. fenugreek seeds
4 curry leaves

3 T. tomato paste (the stuff in the tube “Amore” brand – is what I use)
1 t. ground cumin
1 1/2 t. ground coriander
1 t. minced ginger
1 t. minced garlic
1/2 t. cayenne powder (you can go up to 1 t. if you want to)
2 t. salt
2 t. mango powder
1 1/4 c. water

3 plum tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 green or red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 large carrot, cut into small chunks
2/3 c. green beans, trimmed (I use haricots vert – I think they give a better result)
1/2 c. diced panir
1 jalapeno chili, seeds and membrane removed, minced
2 T. chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the whole seeds and curry leaves and sauté them until they change color. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Mix the tomato paste, all the spices including the garlic and ginger, and the water together and pour into the saucepan containing the oil, seeds, and curry leaves. Return to the heat and cook for about 2 minutes. Gradually add the vegetables, panir, and the green chilies to the pan, stirring to coat with the spiced oil. Add the fresh cilantro and 2/3 c. water, cover the pan and cook at a simmer until all the vegetables are cooked.

Additional application: to make an impromptu Aloo Matar (Curried Potatoes and Peas), prepare the sauce for this recipe, reducing the salt to about 1 t. Add about nine Yukon Gold or other medium-sized starchy potatoes and 1.5 c. of frozen peas to the sauce, and cook until the potatoes are very tender. Add 1/4 c. plain yogurt, some pepper, and some minced cilantro to finish.

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