There’s a shocking secret behind this dish. First, I should tell you that it was very tasty. I should also tell you that Isaac, the world’s pickiest eater, ate most of this all by himself. He showed very little interest in the mound of macaroni and butter on his plate, in fact he shoved it aside to make room for more broccoli. The bowl of broccoli started in the middle of the table, and he slowly pulled it closer and closer to his plate. In the end, he ate straight out of the bowl. And now, for the shocking secret…I used leftover tamarind sauce from an Indian takeout meal!! Da da da dummmmmmmmm. You know when you get a meal from an Indian restaurant, and they give you a little container of mint-cilantro sauce (that’s the green one) and another of tamarind sauce (that’s the dark purply red one), and they taste so good that you don’t want to throw them away, even though you have nothing left to dip in them? Have you ever wondered what else you could do with them? Well! Here’s a solution. I got a beautiful little bunch of broccoli from our CSA. I wanted to do something simple with it, and I decided to try simmering it briefly in a tamarind broth. I added a little garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a spoonful of black sesame seeds, and that was that! Oh, and I topped with a bit of fresh basil, because at the moment everything I make gets a bit of fresh basil! If you don’t have tamarind sauce left from an Indian restaurant, you could add a dash of honey and balsamic (or lemon). It wouldn’t be the same, but it would still have that sweet/sour quality that tamarind imparts.
Here’s The Heptones with Sweet Talking 12″ disco mix! It’s beautiful. Sweet and a touch melancholy. Sigh.
1 smallish bunch broccoli, florets mostly, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic – minced
1/2 t red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 t sesame seeds (I used black, but white are fine, too)
about 1/4 cup tamarind sauce -or- 2 t honey and 1 t balsamic (or whatever balance you like!)
bit of butter, unless you’re vegan!
small handful of fresh basil, chopped
In a medium-sized frying pan, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic, red pepper and sesame seeds. When the garlic starts to brown, add the broccoli, the tamarind sauce, and about 1/2 cup water. (You want it to be brothy enough to simmer the broccoli, so use as much water as you need to come about halfway up the broccoli florets). When it’s just boiling, turn the heat down, cover, and cook until the broccoli is bright green, and still a has a little crunch.
Stir in butter, if you like, scatter the basil on top, and serve!