Do you like cooking for other people? Personally it’s one of my main motivations for cooking creative food, making it nourishing and preparing food in general. This week we finally started doing something at work that we’d all been intending for ages: cooking a staff lunch to share. I made a goal to start after getting back from Erin’s wedding, and it worked! What follows is the recipe for the first staff lunch I made at CocoaNymph.
Speaking of the wedding, I literally sweated over a hot stove (more than once) in preparation for it. One of those dishes I was sweating over was a traditional Indian dish called Briyani. I spent hours making multiple batches of the initial vegetable curry that goes into it. It involves first browning onions, chili, ginger and garlic, then adding spices, then almond powder. Then you scoop in yogurt a few tablespoons at a time, waiting for the water to evaporate before adding more. You then add the vegetables and some water and let the thing cook. The technique is really smart and yummy and I have used a similar technique while cooking other traditional Indian dishes.
What I made at work was totally not Indian, but I was riffing off their technique. I used the vegetables at the green grocer that are beautifully in season now, the spices available to me in our chocolate and confectionery kitchen, and tzatziki that is made in my neighbourhood the best of any I have tasted anywhere.
- oil for the pan, a generous amount
- 2 onions, chopped
- star anise, a dash
- caraway, a dash
- white pepper, a dash
- the best tzatziki, or maybe some other kind of delicious yogurt product, about 3 cups
- potatoes, fresh & diced, a few pounds
- green beans, fresh and broken, a few pounds
- hungarian peppers, seeded, stemmed and diced, a few pounds
- corn, fresh kernels cut off the cob
- black-eyed peas, two cans, rinsed
1. Put the oil in a big pot over medium-high and add the onions. After a few minutes add the spices. Continue stirring periodically throughout.
2. Once the onions are browned, scoop a few tablespoons of the tzatziki into the pot. Stir constantly so as not to burn. When all the moisture has evaporated, add another few tablespoons. Continue until there is no tzatziki left.
3. Add the potatoes with a few cups of water, stir and cover.
4. When the potatoes are 2/3 cooked, add the green beans, peppers and black eyed peas. Continue to cook covered, stirring occasionally.
5. A few minutes later, add the corn kernels, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes more or until all the veggies are cooked and season to taste.