Use this method of 'cooking' broccoli and it will remain green and crunchy. - Photo JANE F. RAGAVAN
Hate cooking at the start of the week? There’s hardly any in this dish.
Everything in moderation is the theme of Modest Mondays, a weekly online cooking column with simple recipes to help counter a weekend of overeating.
Many people refuse to eat broccoli and not even the vegetable’s proven status as an extremely healthy food will sway them. Some don’t like the taste but often, it’s the smell, particularly when the vegetable is steamed, which is especially off-putting.
But here’s a broccoli dish that may turn the haters, and make fans of the vegetable love them even more.
It’s basically raw but not a salad, yet has the feel of one. The broccoli, cut into florets, are marinated or cured with vinegar (which “cooks” them) and seasoned with garlic oil. It can be eaten as a side dish or appetiser – the florets are as good as any crisp – only healthy.
I first came across this method of “cooking” broccoli in an article in The New York Times some years ago. The original recipe is still circulating in cyberspace, but since I have made it so many times, I thought I would simply wing it with what I had in hand and a few additional ingredients.
You basically need a vinegar, loads of minced garlic and a seed spice – I have used onion seeds, but the original used cumin.
Sesame-garlic Cured Broccoli
1 head broccoli, about 300g, cut into bite-size florets
1 tbsp rice vinegar
pinch of salt
¼ tsp sugar
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tbsp)
1 tsp onion seeds (the original uses cumin seeds)
1 tsp sesame seeds (white, black or a mixture)
½-1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp almonds, skin on
1-2 tsp sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste
Place the broccoli florets in a non-reactive bowl. Stir the salt and sugar into the vinegar and add to the broccoli. Toss and set aside while you continue with the rest of the recipe.
Place the oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic and spices and cook until the garlic is lightly brown. Add the sesame seeds, chilli flakes, almonds and sesame oil and cook for another 30 seconds. Take off the heat and pour onto the broccoli. Toss through and season to taste.
Set aside for about an hour before eating. The flavour will be even better after a day in the refrigerator.