south Indian breakfast: roti; beet poriyal; coconut chutney

I almost tripped over a little outpost of India on Saturday at Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market, Nirmala Gupta’s ‘Bombay Emerald Chutney Company‘. I had gone up the street that day only to buy a few beets to augment the few I already had, since those weren’t going to be enough to put together one of my favorite accidentally-vegan dishes later this week, ‘‘spaghetti with rubies“.

I ended up purchasing 2 cauliflower-potato rotis, a delicious coconut chutney, and a small bottle of dried fenugreek from Nirmala.

I know I’ll be enjoying the chutney, even outside Indian entrées, and I’m determined to find uses for the ‘Greek hay‘, since I’ve been enamored of that exotic name for, well, maybe decades. What does it taste like? I think I can go with this description, at least for now: “..a slightly sweet, nutty flavor often described as a cross between celery and maple.”

I immediately made plans for a Sunday breakfast which would be unlike any I had put together before, eventually inspired to make some otherwise luscious but possibly redundant beet greens a part of it. I found this simple recipe which I used as the basis for the side; I was missing a few key ingredients, but I substituted a few of my own.

The breakfast was of course vegan.

The only thing missing was the lassi.

I used to say that for practical reasons alone (storage and shelf space, access to the ingredients), not to mention a relative ignorance of the food cultures, I couldn’t imagine trying to cook meals from traditions radically different from the European, but after my modest experience with this simple breakfast, and with Nirmala’s help, I may be willing to occasionally adjust my practice.

  • two cauliflower and potato-filled roti from Bombay Emerald Chutney Company (Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market), heated for a few minutes over medium heat inside a large enameled cast iron pan, turning several times
  • half of a teaspoon of mustard seeds and one dried Itria-Sirissi chili, peperoncino di Sardegna intero from Buon Italia allowed to crackle a bit in about a teaspoon of olive oil inside a large enameled cast iron pot, joined by one small new onion from Neversink Organic Farm, chopped finely, and one ‘Calabrian Rose’ rocambole garlic clove from Keith’s Farm, also chopped finely, the alliums stirred in the flavored oil for about 2 minutes, the finely-chopped greens from a small bunch of beets purchased from Alex’s Tomato Farm, also at Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market, added to the pot along with a pinch of freshly-ground nutmeg and a pinch of fenugreek, a little salt, and a few torn leaves of basil from Stokes Farm, stirred until cooked a bit, served alongside the roti
  • some ‘Royal Coconut Chutney’ from Bombay Emerald Chutney Company, purchased from the Bombay Emerald Chutney Company stall in the 23rd Street farmers market