Thursday, September 3, 2009

Apple Masala

      Indian food has long been friendly with vegetarians and friendly to the palate in general. Someday I hope to master a wonderful dal dish, yet until then here is a recipe that might satisfy some of the craving for Indian spices. With that said, I don't want to claim that this is an Indian dish. About the only thing Indian is the rice and the masala. And what's more is that the masala is from a jar. Bare with me. This is a simple to make dish that is easy on the pocketbook, like all the recipes I try to present here. The advantage of using Trader Joe's masala is of course the price. Indian dishes require a lot of various seasonings that can get pricy if your market does not sell them in bulk. Note: a major disadvantage is that the masala contains light creme, therefore not making it a vegan recipe.
      When I first experimented with this dish, I was trying to think of ways that one could combine a serving of fruit, vegetables and grains all in one mouthful. I feel that this is a good strategy when planning a meal. Surprisingly, apples go very well with broccoli and the mildly spicy masala. 
What you'll need:
1 pot, I prefer a medium size Le Creuset french oven cook pot. 
1 cup of short grain brown rice (cooked) 
1/2 cup of water
a couple cups of broccoli florets. 
1 large apple. 
2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 cup of Trader Joe's Masala Simmer Sauce

     Begin by adding water into your pot over the stove. Just put enough so that the water only fills the pot about an 1/2 inch. Turn heat to Medium High or High while you thinly slice the apple (about 1/8 inch thin slices). When water reaches a boil add the apple slices. About half the apple slices should be submerged. Toss in some broccoli florets and allow them to steam while the apple cooks a little. 
Cover and cook until broccoli is well steamed. This will be when the broccoli is very vibrant in color before it starts to loose color. The goal here is to break down some of the cell walls making the broccoli more tender but not to overcook it to the point where the broccoli begins to lose some of its nutrients. It varies, but the apples should be tender as well at this time. Remove from heat. Before adding the masala gauge the liquid level in your pot. Too much water will make for a soupy dish. Some can be drained but try to avoid this, as some nutrients will be lost of drained after cooking. Combine masala with a wood spoon. Add cinnamon. This is a lovely addition, but can easily be left out also. Finally serve over brown rice. 

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