Often people point to us that Asparagus isn’t exactly Indian, so why we use it on the menu… I point out that strictly speaking even tomatoes and chillies aren’t exactly Indian but can we imagin our cooking without these two main-stays?
That aside, I love them and our guests love them, so what more can one ask for? Short as it is, we waste absolutely no time and put Asparagus on our menu as soon as it arrives. This recipe will give you ideas for a different take on Asparagus.
20-24 green asparagus, trimmed from the bottom and peeled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon. rock salt (for texture)
1 teaspoon. butter
1 teaspoon black onion seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
For the kadhai spices:
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon. cumin seeds
1 teaspoon. coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper corn
Dry roast all the spices on a dry pan for 30 seconds to a minute until the spices are toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat, allow to cool then pound coarsely. Store in an air-tight container and use to finish stir-fries, as a finishing spice or for texture and bite.
For the curried yoghurt:
1 tablespoon. vegetable or corn oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon. turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon. salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2.5cm/1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
250g/8oz Greek yoghurt
For the curried yoghurt, heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When they start to crackle, quickly add the turmeric powder, sugar and the salt. Add this tempering to the yoghurt along with the ginger, chillies and mix well. Adjust the seasoning to serve with the asparagus.
Sprinkle the asparagus with the oil and black onion and fennel seeds. Cook on a hot barbecue for about 1 minute on each side, until just tender. Drizzle the asparagus with oil and sprinkle over the kadhai masala.
Alternatively, add the butter and the kadhai spices a pan. Place the pan under a grill for one minute, or until the asparagus spears are cooked.
Sprinkle over the coriander leaves and the lemon juice and serve with the curried yoghurt on the side.
Vivek’s Tip: one good way of judging where to cut an asparagus spear from is to snap it, wherever it breaks is the point at which to cut, except you don’t need to anymore!