Brussels sprouts are a great favourite with me, especially since I discovered that they could be roasted in the oven. That is definitely my most preferred way to eat these little green cabbagey things. My mother and I are the only two people in my family who would willingly and happily eat sprouts. My husband turns green at the sight of a sprout. Despite that, he always insists on having this vegetable as a side dish at Christmas dinner, and he'll even put a couple of them on his plate - but they remain untouched all through the meal and then they go straight into the bin. I've asked him why he wants sprouts on the table if he hates them so much, and why he puts them on his plate if he never means to eat them. The only answer I've received is a stubborn "There should be Brussels sprouts at Christmas dinner. It's a tradition." Yeah, his Christmas tradition being never to eat sprouts.
Anyway, my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, my niece and I all make up for Pete's boycott of the sprouts, because we all love them.
Today, inspired by Masterchef Australia 2016 (which I have been watching diligently and religiously), I decided to pan-fry my sprouts. I usually add a lot of chilli powder to my dry curries, but for some reason I refrained, just limiting myself to a pinch of Jaffna curry powder.
Cooking the sprouts on a slightly higher heat, covered, for 15 or so minutes helped them "caramelise" where they were in contact with the hot pan. Masterchef contestants (and judges) are very big on caramelisation, which I've interpreted as "crisp in places and just very slightly burnt".
Well, whatever the actual definition, the sprouts were absolutely delicious! i'm not joking when I say that I kept eating them straight from the pan - the caramelised bits were lovely and crunchy, the inner bits were soft... seriously, just thinking about it is making me salivate. I still have a few sprouts left and I'm very certain I'll be making this again tomorrow. Thank you, Masterchef Australia, for the caramelisation fixation!
Recipe for: Pan-roasted Brussels sprouts
15 medium sprouts
1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp asafoetida powder (optional)
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp Jaffna curry powder (or any curry powder or garam masala you might have)
Salt to taste
1. Trim the sprouts and cut into quarters.
2. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the asafoetida powder and coriander powder and stir it for 30 seconds. Then add the quartered sprouts, sprinkle the curry powder or garam masala over, and stir to coat the sprouts in the oil and spices.
3. Keep the heat just below medium-high and cover the pan. Let the sprouts cook for 15 minutes undisturbed. Then take off the lid and check to see that they are cooked. They should be beautifully caramelised from the prolonged undisturbed contact with the hot pan. Sprinkle the salt over the cooked sprouts and stir it in.
4. Take the pan off the heat and serve the sprouts hot as a side with rice and sambar. (I ate most of them straight from the pan because they were just that delicious.)