06 November 2015

corn + peanuts = delicious

I have long been a fan of food writer/photographer Heidi Swanson, and I even reviewed her cookbook, Super Natural Everyday, here on this blog a while back.  Her latest in-print creation is Near And Far, and it is a glorious, if slightly strange, melding of travel diary and recipe collection. What's strange about it, from my perspective, are the recipes, which basically amount to warm and cold salads, dips, and soups.  Many of them are great, but need to have rice or pasta added to round out a meal.  Case in point, her Vaghareli Makai, which is basically Indian stir-fried corn and peanuts.  It's so delicious and simple it's ridiculous!  But you need to put some rice underneath it for lunch or dinner.  I also added steamed green beans, because I had them and thought it would be tasty.  It was.

So, here's my version:

Vaghareli Makai

Serves 4

1 medium serrano chile, stemmed, seeded (if desired), and sliced
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¾ teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1 tablespoon peanut oil (or other neutral oil)
1 ½ teaspoons yellow or brown mustard seeds
3 cups corn (frozen fine; rinse under warm water and drain)
1 cup steamed green beans
½ cup roasted peanuts
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
3 cups cooked jasmine or brown rice, for serving
lemon or lime wedges, for serving

With a mini food processor, grind the chile, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and salt to a paste.

Heat the oil in a wide skillet. Add the mustard seeds and cook, stirring until they pop, which will take a minute or two. Stir in the corn kernels and cook a few minutes, stirring frequently, until they just start to feel tender, which will take a couple of minutes.

Stir in the peanuts, green beans, half of the cilantro and the chile paste. Cook for another minute then taste. If desired, for additional heat, add more of the chile paste and perhaps a bit of salt.

Serve the spiced corn over rice, topped with the remaining cilantro and sesame seeds  Serve with lime or lemon wedges--don't skip this step!