January 21, 2008

Vindaloo Vegetables and Roasted Okra

Posted in dinner, the Challenge at 2:28 am by veganalects

My dad was out of town for the night, so I took advantage of the opportunity to make a dish with vegetables he claims to dislike: cauliflower and zucchini. On the side I served a vegetable neither of my parents like, okra, in the hope that I could change my mom’s mind.

I, too, once spurned cauliflower and zucchini. Ditto broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, and even peas. Some of these I came to like soon after becoming vegetarian—you know, when I stumbled upon those vegetable things—and some of these I’ve only recently begun to appreciate. What I discovered is that preparation is key. Any vegetable can be delicious (except perhaps beets, but I’m prepared to be converted); likewise, any vegetable can be bland or disgusting. Brussels sprouts, for instance, contain sulfur compounds that become bitter when the sprouts are overcooked. Eggplant, on the other hand, is bitter and rubbery when undercooked, but becomes mellow and tender when cooked properly.

I can recount a conversion story for each of these vegetables. (Indian food is responsible for cauliflower, eggplant, and peas. Try it out on your favorite skeptic.) My ultimate goal is to cook one of those conversion stories for my parents, which brought me to these recipes. Both come from FatFree Vegan Kitchen. In front you see Vindaloo Vegetables. My mom and I both liked this dish, especially after all the soups and pastas we’ve been eating. Although it’s quite tasty, I’m not sure it would convert anyone, because its main strength is that it’s loaded with yummy (I think) vegetables. The sauce is good, too, but this one is for the vegetable connoisseur.

That turned out to be even more true for the Roasted Okra. Most people who don’t like okra find it too slimy. I thought roasting would minimize this problem, but somewhere along the line it got quite slimy. Did I fail to dry it thoroughly after washing? Did I stir it too much? (I read somewhere that the more you you disturb the okra, the slimier it gets.) I’m not sure. I liked it fine, but it did not win over my mom. But I’m not giving up. I’ll do some experimenting and see what I can do about the slime. And maybe I’ll have better luck roasting cauliflower—that’s my next plot to expand my dad’s vegetable palate.

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1 Comment »

  1. Lizzy said,

    I LOVE beets, hehe! I can eat them pure out of the glass =p
    I made Borscht(a red beet soup) last night, maybe that would change your mind 😉

    When I was little I was so über picky when it came to vegetables, or food in general. My mom always tried to feed me broccoli which I never liked too much (it’s actually my favorite vegetable now =p) and one day I looked down on my plate and there was a little green worm on my broccoli. Dead of course, but after that incident I kept away from it for several years.
    I’ve never been too fond of peas. But like you I got to love cauliflower and zucchini, both veggies I once used to detest.
    I guess you have to give everything a try and if you’re lucky you’ll discover that it’s actually tasty. Like you said, preparation is important.

    Great to hear that your mom liked your dish. And good luck with feeding your dad cauliflower 😉


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