June 26, 2011

International Bento (India): Cauliflower & Green Bean Korma

It's bento time again! This is a big bento box for a big appetite. It's sleek, matte black, and has a built in storage compartment for your chopsticks as part of the lid in the airtight top section. We call it the Ninja Bento Box, for obvious reasons. This bento was packed after the curry had cooled, so the sauce looks thicker than it really is when it is freshly made or re-heated.

I was surprised to realize that I hadn't actually done an Indian bento yet. While this is one of the simplest types of bentos imaginable - an inelegant arrangement of leftovers, really: some rice on one side (basmati, of course - not only appropriate to the cuisine, but also our default rice), and vegetable korma on the other.

The korma recipe is one that I have posted previously here, back in 2006. I haven't changed it much, except that I now often remove the cardamom seeds from the pods before throwing them into the pan, so that I don't need to fish them out later, and I puree the sauce before adding the featured ingredient. This korma was simply trimmed and sliced green beans, and cauliflower florets, thrown in at the point where one would usually add chicken or tender lamb. You can use any vegetable you like, of course, such as this version here from 2007, which included chickpeas, broccoli, bell pepper, carrots, and homemade paneer. The sauce is just that versatile - it can be meaty, vegetably, or some combination depending on your whim (or the state of your fridge).

Cauliflower takes to curry like the proverbial duck to water. It doesn't seem to matter what kind of curry, perhaps because cauliflower is such a mellow flavour to begin with, but it soaks up any sauce you put it in like it was especially designed to do so, and it doesn't suffer from significant texture loss when you re-heat it, which is a real bonus for packing up the leftovers as lunch.

I was a little startled to discover that I've been making this recipe regularly for five years now. It's my go-to when I want a homemade curry but don't have the energy or adventurousness to try something new or tricky, or if I'm just in the mood for something dependably comforting.

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