Vegetetable Jalfrezi in India tends to be far away from what is served in the west. It is ultimately left over vegetables that are fried to be used up
This is in a similar way that in the UK we have “bubble and squeak”, which is also left over vegetables fried. Vegetable Jalfrezi is a north Indian dish that originated in Bengal from the word “Jhel”, which means spicy in Bengali and “frezi”, which ultimately means fried.
Vegetetable Jalfrezi was designed to be used when leftovers needed using up and were deep fried to kill any bacteria that may have developed so a combination of vegetables that do not turn to mush when fried can be used. There are a few ‘usual suspects’ in this dish however and these are given as our ingredients, but don’t feel like you need to stick to this.
White cabbage: 1/4 cup cut into 2cm cubes
Green pepper (capsicum): 1/4 cup cut into 2cm cubes
Carrot: 1/4 cup cut into 1cm cubes
Green beans: 1/4 cup cut into 2cm lengths
Paneer or small mushrooms (optional to add a bit of class): 1/5 cup cut into 1cm cubes
Note: All in all the above need to make 1 cup of vegetables or 300 gms per person, play with the amount of each vegetable combination depending on what you like to eat! You can replace the above with cauliflower, different types of beans baby sweetcorn etc. Just avoid things like spinach, butternut squash etc that all turn to mush when cooked.
Chilli (fresh): 1 sliced
Garlic: 2 pieces (not bulbs!) finely chopped
Ginger: 2cm cube finely chopped
Onion: 1 small
Tomato: 1 medium
Black pepper: 4 pinches
Garam masala: 1 tsp
Poppadum (papad): 1 uncooked
Shallow fry all the vegetables together until they are all cooked and soft. Remove from the pan with something that will remove excess oil and rest on a wad of kitchen towel (or in a sieve if you do not have kitchen towel) to remove a lot of the fat. You need some, but we remove a lot to make this a slightly healthier dish. This can be done in advanced or simply use pre-cooked/ leftover vegetables you already have in the fridge
In a frying pan add the spices dry until they start to brown and then add the vegetables. If you are using leftovers you need to add a little oil in at this point, but if you have fried fresh vegetables the oil they have been cooked in is fine. Stir well until the Vegetetable Jalfrezi begins cooking again, then a minute before serving stir in the fresh coriander.
While the Vegetetable Jalfrezi is heating up the second time turn on a flame to a medium heat. Using metal tongs wave the uncooked poppadum in the naked flame until it starts to go brown and small bubbles form. Move around the flame cooking evenly (while ensuring it doesn’t go black) until it has changed from semi see-through to completely non see-through.
While piping hot push the poppadum into a serving bowl so it makes a “bowl in a bowl” and then add the heated Vegetetable Jalfrezi to serve.