You’ve had broccoli steamed. You’ve had it boiled. You’ve had it boiled to death (very sad). You’ve had it tossed with olive oil and roasted. But have you had broccoli varai, with seasoned onions and coconut and salt and pepper and turmeric? Mmmm….
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.