Needed a photo of broccoli varai for the vegan cookbook, so made it and devoured it for dinner last night. So good! As a bonus, Anand happily ate it too! Kavi likes the broccoli, but says she doesn’t like the little seeds, which I think might be a legacy of having worn braces for years; I might try cooking it with ground cumin & mustard for her next time. But I like it like this.
Sri Lankan Broccoli Varai
(30 minutes, serves 4)
A good way to get green vegetables into children.
Note: I keep this fairly mild, so my kids will eat it, but for a spicier (and more traditional) version, chop 2-3 green chilies, and stir them in during step 1.
1 pound broccoli (crowns and/or stalks), chopped fine (by hand or in food processor)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1-2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
6-12 curry leaves
1 1-inch cinnamon stick
¼ tsp. black mustard seed
¼ tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. black pepper (or cayenne)
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground turmeric
½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp. oil (optional)
1 tsp. sugar (optional)
1-2 tsp. lime juice (optional)
1. Sauté onions in oil on high with curry leaves, cinnamon, mustard seeds, and cumin seeds until onions are golden / translucent (not brown).
2. Add broccoli, salt, pepper, and turmeric; fry, stirring, for a few minutes. (If the broccoli starts sticking to the bottom of the pan, you can add a little water.)
3. Add in coconut and stir for five minutes.
4. Taste, and stir in sugar and/or lime juice if desired. Serve hot, with rice and curries.