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My older sister is a phenomenal cook! When she came to visit from India, she invented recipes from local vegetables that she had never cooked before. She had never seen brussel sprouts before, but she was intrigued by the shape and size. She called them nani-kobi (small cabbage) and came up with two recipes that can please even the fussiest eater. I modified the recipes to make them less spicy.

Brussel sprouts got its name because of its popularity in Belgium. According to Wikipedia, the first written reference dates back to the 13th century.

Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff, author of Flavors Of India: Vegetarian Indian Cuisine is a co-owner of Other Avenues Food Cooperative in San Francisco.

Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts Curry
4–5 small red or Yukon gold potatoes
(about 1 ½ cups when cubed)
12 brussel sprouts
3–4 Roma tomatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 or 2 cloves of mince garlic
2 tsp minced or shredded fresh ginger root
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp or less salt
Juice of one lime
2 tbsp chopped cilantro for topping

Peel and cut the potatoes into approximately 1 inch chunks. Set them aside. Rinse the brussel sprouts and cut off their stems. As you cut their stems, some outer leaves will come out, discard them along with the stems. Cut the brussel sprouts into halves. (If they are really tiny, keep them whole.) Set them aside. Chop the tomatoes into small chunks and set them aside.

Next, heat the oil in a sauce pan and add the onion. Over a moderate heat, stir fry onions for a few minutes until they begin to get limp.

Then add the ginger and garlic and continue to stir fry for two more minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir fry for a few additional minutes.

Lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook for five minutes, then uncover and add a few tablespoons of water.

Break the tomato pieces with a wooden spoon to transform the mixture into a chunky sauce.

Now, add the potatoes and brussel sprouts to the tomato sauce and saute for two minutes.

Next, add powdered spices and salt, and continue to stir gently for a few minutes. Then cover and cook the curry for 15 to 20 minutes, over low to moderate heat, until both potatoes and brussel sprouts are soft. The mixture should simmer gently while it is cooking.

Uncover the pot every five minutes to check the consistency of the curry. Add a bit of water if the sauce is getting too dry. Add the lime juice and stir the curry gently to mix the ingredients. Top with chopped cilantro and serve hot with flat bread and/or rice.

Brussel Sprouts Pakora
12 brussel sprouts, cut into halves
1 cup of garbanzo or chick-pea flour (besan)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground coriander
a few pinches of ground cayenne pepper to taste
½ tsp (or to taste) salt
Juice of ½ lemon or lime
¾ cup or more water
2 cups light oil such as canola

Remove a few outer leaves of the sprouts and discard. Rinse and then cut each brussel sprout into half. Set them aside in a colander to drip off the excess water.

In a mixing bowl, combine the garbanzo flour, spices, salt and lemon juice. Add water as needed to make a batter that is thin like a pourable consistency.

Heat the oil in a wok or a heavy frying pan until it is very hot. Check that the oil is hot enough by dropping a small piece of batter into the oil. If the piece bubbles and rises to the surface right away the oil is ready.

Next, dip a few pieces of brussel sprouts into the bowl to cover them with batter. Slide the dough-covered vegetable pieces into the hot oil carefully. Turn the vegetables using a slotted spoon to cook them evenly into a light brown color. Then remove them from the oil and lay them on a platter lined with paper towels to drain off excess oil. Deep fry the rest of the Brussel sprouts in small batches until all of them are done. You may have some batter left over which can be refrigerated for future use. Serve hot or at room temperature with a green chutney; recipe to follow.

Coriander or Mint Chutney
1 cup coriander leaves (cilantro)
or fresh mint leaves, stems removed
½ cup chopped scallions, including greens
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger root
1 or 2 hot chilies, seeds and veins removed, chopped fine
1 tsp salt
½ cup plain yogurt (or unflavored soy yogurt) blended with ¼ cup of water

Place the ingredients in the jar of a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Keep it chilled until ready to use. If refrigerated in a covered jar, the chutney will keep for a week.