Monday, November 21, 2016

Broccoli Stalk Stew

Broccoli stalks, if you ask me, are the best part of the vegetable, and perhaps any vegetable. They can have a sort of pak choi flavour and texture if you don't cook them too much, and slice them thinly.

This is a take on a soup/stew I had a number of times when I was living in Cambodia. There, they use the stalks to good effect, slicing them to the thickness of a beer bottle top for want of a better, but all the same as appropriate, image - then cooking them in soups, fried rice, noodle dishes, and probably a lot of other dishes I've forgotten since those impecunious, halcyon days.

I've used potato here, which doesn't grow well in Cambodia, but the ingredients are far from consistent there, to be sure using whatever is cheap in the market that week, so I've tweaked accordingly.

It is usually served with a small bowl of chopped red chillies topped with a chunk of lime, maybe a side plate of a few leafy vegetables or herbs like they do so well in neighbouring Vietnam, and of course the ubiquitous, plastic (often red) basket containing fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, black pepper, toothpicks, and pickled green chillies if you're lucky. As dishes go it's got to be about as cheap as it comes, but it's very good all the same.

Stalks of two large broccoli heads, sliced thinly
2 large potatoes, each cut into eight pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
500ml water
Salt, pepper to taste
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1 tbsp chopped garlic
Chopped red bird eye chillies

Prep the vegetables then fry the onion in a pot until it has softened and is beginning to colour. Add the potato pieces, garlic, and ginger. Continuing frying for a few more minutes. Add the water, bring to the boil, cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the broccoli stalks, recover the pot and cook for another five minutes or so until the stalks are tender and the potato still firm. Add a little more water if necessary. You don't want it swamping, but there needs to be liquor. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve with chillies, fish sauce and all the rest. Then imagine you're sitting on a plastic stool in 35C heat.

No comments: