Spiced Asparagus, Indian Style

Although not a traditional vegetable in Indian cuisine, asparagus harmonize beautifully with classic Indian spices like cumin, ginger, garlic and red chiles.


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2 bunches trimmed asparagus
1/2 teaspoon salt
~ boiling water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 whole bay leaves*
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons onion, minced fine
1–2 teaspoons fresh ginger puree**
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/8 teaspoon ground red chili powder
½+ teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
*Use Turkish bay leaves available in ethnic grocery stores or online. Do not substitute California Bay Laurel leaves or the flavor is compromised.**Puree the ginger by cutting the root into small pieces, adding a little water, and blending to a fine paste in the food processor. Alternatively, grate the ginger finely using a microplane or box grater.
  1. Sprinkle the asparagus with salt and place in a heat-resistant 13x9x2” baking dish.
  2. Pour in enough boiling water to cover the asparagus. Cover with plastic wrap, being careful not to let the plastic wrap touch the water. Set aside until cool enough to handle comfortably.
  3. Drain the asparagus and pat dry.
  4. Cut the asparagus diagonally into one-inch pieces. Set aside.
  5. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.
  6. Add the bay leaves and cook until light brown, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent burning.
  7. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they sizzle.
  8. Turn the heat to low, add the onion and ginger and cook for two minutes.
  9. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
  10. Add the red chili powder, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  11. Add the asparagus and toss to coat.
  12. Adjust the salt to taste before serving.
Preparation Time: 
Approximately 45 minutes.