A few years ago our friend’s mother from Pakistan was visiting. When asked if she’d be willing to spend the day in the kitchen teaching us some of her favorite recipes, she happily agreed. Grinding cardamom and cumin, chopping garlic and ginger, laughing in the midst of steaming pots and pans, and having cool lemonade, it was a transmission of Indian/Pakistani cooking that left its mark on our hearts. This recipe is a very easy, delicious, and colorful addition to an Indian dinner (or any kind of dinner). Of all the recipes she taught us that day, this recipe stood out and is now one of our standards. Serve as a side vegetable with daal and basmati rice.
3 tablespoon safflower oil
11⁄2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 small cloves garlic, finely minced
4 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into quarters and then sliced
2 tablespoons water 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
2 roma tomatoes, diced in small dices (about 1⁄4-inch cubes)
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
Heat oil in a skillet on medium to high heat. Add ginger and sauté for 30 seconds. Add cumin seeds and pepper flakes and sauté on medium heat for 30 seconds. Make sure to not burn the cumin seeds. Add minced garlic. Sauté for another 30 seconds.
Turn up the heat and add zucchini, water, and turmeric. Stir and sauté on medium high heat for 3 minutes. Then add tomatoes. Sauté for another 2 minutes. Add salt. Vegetables should be slight- ly firm and already tender but not too soft. Serve hot.
Note–When doubling, tripling, etc., this recipe, be conservative with the amount of spices used or they will dominate the flavor. Add only a third more if doubling or even tripling the ingredients and then adjust the spices later if needed. Tumeric is added mostly for color and usually doesn’t have to be increased.