24 May, 2017
Shawtomuli shorshey: Asparagus in mustard sauce
Asparagus is not a frequent visitor to my kitchen. Not that it is unavailable in this part of the globe or that there has been a known case of food intolerance in the family. I must admit I did not have an Indian recipe to cook the asparagus with.
Bengalis have a love love relationship with mustard. They can use it in almost any preparation. Curries, pickles, chutneys, condiments, you name it. The whole seeds are used to temper (Tadka), the ground powder is used extensively in cooking, the oil is a preferred medium not only to cook with but also for health and household use. We use mustard oil for postpartum and baby body massages. My grandmother would make baby pillows filled with mustard seeds to help develop the rounded heads for newborn babies. We use mustard for, and in everything.
I gave the asparagus in mustard sauce a go. I mean why not. If eggplants, okras, leafy greens, potatoes can all accompany mustard or Shorshey as we call it, then why not asparagus.
In our household the sauce should be strong enough for the nose to water. You can of course dial it down to your preference.
Recipe: Serves 6 as a side dish
Asparagus 500 gms
Mustard powder 2 Tbsps
Dijon mustard paste 2 Tbsps
Turmeric powder 1 tsp
Chilli powder 1/2 tsp
Unsweetened coconut flakes 1 Tbsps
Canola oil 1 Tbsp
Salt to taste
Mustard oil 11/2 Tbsps
Break and discard the tough ends of the asparagus stems, boil them in water for 5 to 7 minutes, till tender but not mushy. Drain the water out and let them sit on ice cold water.
In a bowl mix together the mustard powder, turmeric powder, chilli . powder, mustard paste and coconut flakes. Add a cup of water. Mix well and set aside.
Take a Tbsp of Canola oil in a nonstick pan on medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, wait to sputter and then add the above paste. Cook for about 5 minutes till thickens to a thick sauce, Drizzle the mustard oil over this.
Pour this sauce over the asparagus. Enjoy with plain rice.
The Dijon mustard has some vinegar in it. The final taste is a balance of sour, salt and pungent, with the mustard flavour dominating over everything.
I ground black mustard seeds in a coffee grinder.