Vegetable Jalfrezi (spicy vegetable mix) - Or as I like to call it, "Vegetable Jal-Crazy," is one of the most popular dishes I have made for others. I love it because it is vegetarian and FULL of healthy vegetables with a tiny bit of unhealthy frying. Others love it because it melts in your mouth, has tons of flavor, and is simply "ma-za-dar" (delicious)! I discovered it in a cook book my mother-in-law gave me (Zubeida Tariq, a well-known cook born in Hyderabad, India now in Karachi, Pakistan) and have always made a few minor modifications (along with some short-cuts). I often get asked for the recipe, so here it is! :)
Chop up 1 small cabbage (or half of a really large cabbage) into 1" squares, 1 green pepper, quarter and separate layers of 1 large onion (or 2 small onions), and put in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, mix 1 Tablespoon sliced/peeled, fresh ginger, 2 thinly sliced green chilies, 1 Tablespoon white vinegar, ~1 Tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. You'll use this later ;).
Heat 1/2 cup of vegetable/canola oil with 4 whole, long red chilies in a large pot on medium heat. Cook until dark red, flipping as needed.
(I used two above, because the person I made it for has NO spice tolerance... If you, yourself, have this problem, I highly recommend using this amount or skipping this step all together. If you love it spicy and your loved one does not, simply "baghar!" (see previous posts, or heat chilies in a small amount of oil until cooked) yourself 4 whole, long red chilies, and 2 chopped green chillies and add it at the end of the dish.)
Add your big bowl of vegetables in the hot oil and add a bag of frozen carrots/peas mix. Stir fry for about 5 minutes.
Add the tiny bowl of seasoning/spices and fry until vegetables are softened (at least 10 minutes).
Meanwhile, slice up 2 small white or golden potatoes like french fries (pictured above).
In a separate small frying pan, pour enough vegetable/canola oil that it will cover the fries and heat up to medium/high heat. Then add your sliced potatoes. It will get all fun and bubbly. :) If this is your first time deep frying, be careful not to let the popping oil burn you as you put your potatoes in. Be gentle, use the side of the pan to slide them in. The less watery your potatoes are the less the oil will spatter.
When they turn a golden brown (pictured above), remove them with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel.
Add the potatoes to your jalfrezi mix, along with a 6oz can of Tomato Paste and an 8oz can of Tomato Sauce. Also, add 1 teaspoon powdered cumin seed.
To be honest, I don't always add the entire 6oz of tomato paste unless the pot is really full of vegetables. You don't want a watery jalfrezi, but at the same time, you want it to be saucy. Whether you use half of the can or the full can, it will still be delicious -- I guarantee it! Isn't Pakistani cooking amazing?
Cover the pot and cook on low heat for at least 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with ~1/2 cup fresh cilantro and serve with basmati rice. :)