chunky vegetable paella
i stole an amazing cookbook called "the ultimate vegetarian cookbook" by roz deny from arvi, my cousin, almost six years ago. i had just moved to the bay area from bombay and was newly married. never having cooked in my life, i was looking to all sources of inspiration to get going. during my first week in california, arvi had invited me over to his stylish pad in santa clara and had cooked me a lovely south indian dinner of rasam, rice, potato curry and curd rice.
i was very impressed that this cousin brother of mine (who as a kid i had considered to be the ultimate source of authority on everything in life) actually knew how to cook. inspired i was but i was not impressed that he rarely ventured beyond the south indian food that we grew up on. so i stole this big and colourful recipe book that adorned his bookshelf. it had over 200 mouthwatering recipes shown step-by-step in 800 photographs. it didn't seem like he used it or had any plans to in the near future so i didn't feel guilty at all though i probably should have since it was the only source of recipes he had other than nirmala periamma's handwritten recipes for all his childhood favourites.
i've learnt many an interestng recipe from this cookbook but my all time favourite is the chunky vegetable paella. it turns out so very delicious every time that i don't dare deviate from the recipe which is quite unusual for me as i hate to follow the exact letter of the law.
h and i used to host an annual tapas party at our place in redwood city and the paella was always the main dish to accompany all the other finger foods like patata bravas, tapenades, warmed olives, roasted sweet peppers and more. and of course, the sangria was always freely flowing..
here's the paella recipe which calls for a nice pinch of saffron strands...
good pinch saffron stands
1 eggplant, cut in thick chunks
6 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
2 tsp paprika
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
2 1/2 cups veg stock
1 pound fresh tomatoes, skinned and chopped
ground black pepper
4 oz sliced mushrooms
4 oz cute green beans
1 x 15 oz can chick peas
1. steep the saffron in 3 tbsp hot water. sprinkle the eggplant with salt, leave to drain in a colander for 30 minutes, then rinse and dry.
2. in a large paella or frying pan, heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic, peppers and eggplant for about 5 minutes, stirring ocassionally. sprinkle in the paprika and stir again.
3. mix the rice, then pour in the stock, tomatoes, saffron and seasoning. bring to boil then simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered, shaking the pan frequently and stirring occasionally.
4. stir in the mushrooms, green beans and chick peas (with the liquor). continue cooking for a further 10 minutes, then serve hot from the pan.
if you're looking for a crowd pleaser at a dinner party, look no further than the chunky vegetable paella.
ps - arvi is getting married in bangalore next week. i will be on holiday from friday onwards and will be in bombay and then bangalore. i'll definitely take lots of pictures of all the wedding food but not sure how often i'll be able to blog given all my other duties at the family wedding!