My feelings regarding Milan are either complete annoyance (when every morning is grey, when my bikes are stolen, when it's so loud in restaurants that yelling is necessary) or of intense fondness (when air smells of flower blossoms, when we can spend long evenings drinking wine in Colonne, when I still get lost in the small streets around my work). The beginning of spring always inspires me to get out of the house more often, get things done, look around with more curiosity, say "yes" and not cancel - but this year there are different emotions involved. Mental preparation to a move that is most probably coming in a few months have started. Two weeks ago, when I flew back from Poland, upon leaving the plane I realized it was possibly the last time I landed here thinking I was coming home. My flatmate started moving yesterday. At uni, we talk about our bachelor dissertations and where to go next. My final exams begin in 3 weeks.
With all of those things in mind, I've been exploring Italian food a little more. I even cooked fresh artichokes, and pasta cacio e pepe (sometimes just pepe) has been in very regular rotation. But mostly, it's been focaccias from bakeries in the neighbourhood, a lot of ice cream, weird pestos - and very little cooking at home. But I try. I mean, I also have to use the easily available coriander which soon might become just a memory.
The very, very low number of curry recipes on this blog is surprising - next to lentil soups and grain salads, they are normally my favorite thing to eat and cook. This one is cooked for a very short time, to keep the vegetables vibrant and green. And the chutney is what really makes this dish special - it adds texture and flavor and please, please do not skip it.
Green Pea and Asparagus Curry with Peanut Chutney
1 cup green peas
1 cup chopped asparagus (5-6 large spears), 0.5cm slices
1 tbsp oil
1 clove garlic
1 tsp coriander seed, powdered
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp peanuts
2 tbsp coconut, shredded
1/2 medium cucumber
1 tbsp lime juice
chili powder, to taste
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cumin, powdered
scallions, green parts
First, prepare the chutney. Peel and finely dice the cucumber. Chop the peanuts well. Combine all ingredients in a bowl - taste and season with salt, sugar and lime juice accordingly. Set aside, allow the flavors to mingle.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add peas and slices of asparagus - cook for 3-4 minutes until tender. Drain, shock with cold water, set aside.
Chop the white parts of scallions into 1cm pieces. Mince the garlic. Heat up the oil, add scallions and cook until soft around the edges, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and coriander, then add the cooked vegetables, coconut milk and sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, add soy sauce and juice and zest of 1/2 lime.
Serve with white rice, potatoes or naan breads, heaped tablespoons of the chutney, and of course fresh coriander and scallion tops, chopped finely.