Fresh and light with tons of lime and coconut. Take a ride around the world with this tropical vegetable dish. The Kaffir Lime leaves give an amazing aroma of lime throughout the dish without citrusy bitterness. Finished with heaping handful of cilantro for an ultimate fresh taste.
Over the Christmas break, I was back at home perusing cookbooks and found “Plenty More” by the uber famous Yotam Ottolenghi. At first glance I was thoroughly impressed by the images, but felt the ingredients may be too obscure for most. I still grabbed the book and loaded it up for some airplane reading on the way back from Missouri to the Chicago Arctic.
While squished into an airplane seat and thumbing through the book, I found myself quite excited about a number of Yotam’s recipes. They seem to have an un-abashed other world flair to them. Due to his British tongue, a number of ingredients that sound exotic turn out to be easily attainable. For example, “haricots verts” actually are just simple green beans…
Ok, so beans are haricots verts, but when do I find curry leaves, and fresh ones to be exact? Well I haven’t yet… But I did find fresh Kaffir Lime leaves at an asian grocery store for real cheap. So I tossed ’em in! Although I am sure it’s a very different flavor from the original recipe, the aroma and flavor infusion from the leaves is worth a quick trip to the market.
Another substitution I made for this recipe was young coconut meat for grated mature hard coconut. Until preparing this dish I had never hacked into a fresh coconut in the kitchen. Recalling my childhood, we might have had one that I smashed with a hammer in the driveway, but that’s about it. My girlfriend loves coconut water and has many fond memories of drinking them along the roadside in Singapore. She assured me, “just cut here and here and the top will come right off.”
I sort of believed her, but I still wore my cut resistant gloves. I dug up an old knife and began gently hacking away at the top point. It’s easy to cut through the white flesh, but then there is a woody center that does take a bit more whacking. Then suddenly the coconut water begins to leak out and whoohoo! Just like finding water in the dessert. Take a look down below for images of how-to break into the young coconut, it is definitely easier than I would have imagined. AND the coconut is totally worth it in this veggie dish for a hint of sweetness and richness.
This recipe was the my first foray into “Plenty More” and it actually turned out real tasty! Either every recipe in this book is pretty good, or I just got lucky. Regardless, I am motivated to translate more British English to discover the world according to Yotam.
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