Most of the fresh ingredients used in today's subzi came from my own kitchen garden: the cucumbers, mint, curry leaves and green chilies. And that makes this recipe very special to me. That, and the fact that it tasted pretty darn good.
Now I'm not a great gardener, but I love it anyway. Every summer I try my hand, with help from Desi, at growing at least a few vegetables and herbs. In recent years I've planted, and reaped, tomatoes, eggplants, okra, beets, zucchini, cabbage, broccoli, basil, mint, thyme, rosemary, sage and a few other goodies. Some were half-eaten by bugs before I could get to them, but I had good luck with most.
This year, I planted a cucumber vine because I'd heard it's one of the easiest garden veggies to grow, and before I knew it, it threatened to take over the entire vegetable garden. I've already harvested quite a few cucumbers. I had two on hand yesterday and was a little tired of eating them in raw salads. But I had never cooked a cucumber subzi before.
Roshani, my friend, suggested a classic Gujarati recipe that her mom, Pratima Kothari, makes. I modified it slightly, adding some curry leaves at the beginning and some mint at the end, as well as a sprinkling of coconut.
I loved this dish. The cucumber did not break down into a mush as I had expected, but held its shape beautifully. I cooked it until it was just tender. The mint (cucumber and mint do sound so right together, don't they?) added a wonderfully fresh flavor.
This is one recipe I will be making all summer long. Thanks, Roshani!
2 medium-sized cucumbers, cut into a small dice
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 sprig curry leaves, separated
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 green chilies like serrano, slit down the middle
¼ teaspoon turmeric (optional)
Salt to taste
3 tablespoon mint, cut into shreds
2 tablespoon coconut shreds
Heat the oil.
Add the mustard seeds and when they sputter, add the curry leaves and green chilies
Within seconds, add the turmeric and then the cucumber pieces. Stir well to coat thoroughly with the oil.
Allow the cucumber to cook for about 15-20 minutes over a medium flame, stirring occasionally.
Once the cucumber is tender, add more salt if needed and turn off the heat.
Sprinkle with the fresh mint and coconut.