I know you all are probably sick of hearing, “here’s another unique zucchini recipe for you.” I am. I’ve had enough frittatas, galettes, and zucchini bread/muffins/cookies, you get the picture. Maybe you are even tired of eating zucchini, it is after all September! Despite all of this, I’m going to throw another zucchini recipe at you. It’s super quick, easy, flavorful, and all of those other clichéd adjectives.
Plus, it is economical. I feel as though I sound like a food personality full of gimmicks. Trust me, I am not and I just want to share this dish with you all. Sometimes, my mind goes out of the practical zone and dreams of buying caviar, foie gras, fine cheeses, truffles, and the like. Then, I snap myself back to reality and remember that I am not working (yet!) and my husband is an overworked and underpaid medical student.
Pakistani food doesn’t break the bank for us. When I’m trying to budget (which, is rarely successful) I proclaim that I am only cooking Pakistani food. The spices are reasonable if you buy them at a Pakistani or Indian grocer and the other ingredients are basic pantry staples. This dish would be even more economical if you have a garden and it grows copious amounts of zucchini.
I love how the zucchini in this dish gets almost caramelized with the onions and tomatoes, creating an almost chutney-like consistency. You can use this recipe as a template for many other vegetables: eggplant, okra, potatoes, green beans. I serve this dish with a huge spoonful of yogurt, the yogurt mellows out the spices and adds creaminess. Whether or not you are sick of zucchini, the spices in this dish will revive your passion for late summer produce.
Serves 3 as a main, 4 as a side
2-3 tablespoons canola oil, or any other neutral-flavored vegetable oil
4 medium-size zucchini, peeled and cut into thin half-moons
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 ripe and juicy tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red chilies, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
juice of 1/2 a lime, optional
1-2 sliced green chilies, for garnish
10 springs of cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Heat the oil in a large pan on medium heat, add the red onions and allow them to cook until they just begin to lightly turn brown, about 5-7 minutes. At this point, add in the tomatoes and stir with the onions for 2 minutes. Then, add in the spices and cook the rawness out of the spices. Next, add in the zucchini and mix for 5 minutes. Cover the pan and allow the zucchini to cook for an additional 20-25 minutes until the zucchini wilts down and the oil begins to separate from the zucchini. Squeeze on the juice of the lime and garnish with the green chilies and cilantro. Serve with roti, chapati, or naan.