Indian Asparagus with Ginger & Lime


14-15 asparagus spears
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
2 shallots finely chopped
1 tsp minced ginger
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
¾ tsp jaggery (or sugar as a substitute)
½ tsp salt
¾ tbsp lime juice
A pinch of chilli powder


Heat the oil in the large non-stick pan (do not allow it to smoke). (To test if the oil is hot enough, throw in one mustard seed – if the oil is ready, it should sizzle and rise to the top straight away) When hot add the mustards seeds and fry until they sizzle, and add the cumin seeds and fry for 3-4 seconds.
Turn the heat to medium and add the onions, ginger and fry stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or so until the shallots are a light golden colour. Add the jaggery, (or substitute) lime juice, chilli powder and salt. Once the jaggery has melted, toss the asparagus in the pan along with a sprinkling of water to help them steam. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes until the asparagus is tender. (The timing may vary depending on the thickness of the spears) you can test with a skewer to check for this)


I always find that asparagus is best cooked with few ingredients and little messing around so to speak so that their distinct flavour is retained. I love Indian vegetable dishes but find that sometimes we can lose the flavour of the individual vegetable itself due to the strong tastes of the spices (what I call ‘over -masalafied’!)
This dish however only uses a couple of spices for flavouring and as they are seeds rather than the powder, their oils and flavour is released into the oil which then coats the asparagus. The asparagus season is usually end of April –June and they are packed with soluble fibre, iron and low in calories too. Some even claim they have aphrodisiac properties! But I’ll leave that for you to confirm!
I have mentioned a ‘pinch’ of chilli powder. Now, how large your pinch is will depend on the strength of your chilli powder. However as guidance, this dish should be tangy with a hint of sweet, a slight kick as the back of your throat and of course, all the ‘crunch’ and freshness of the asparagus.
On another note, I don’t normally use olive oil for Indian cooking however; we are not cooking this dish for too long so the chance of the oil burning is reduced. In addition, the grassy flavour of the olive oil (I used Olive Branch) really compliments the asparagus.


2-3 (as a side dish)


Sunday, June 10, 2012 - 4:03pm


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