Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Tamarind and Cashews
Source: Akhtar Nawab, Good for You
This is one of the Mexican-Indian mashups I created for the menu at my modern Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn, Alta Calidad. I use tamarind, which is traditionally Southeast Asian and Indian but is also used in sodas in Mexico, and added a spicy dry chile pepper called chile de árbol. What I like about these peppers is that they can get really nutty and have a chocolatey aroma. I simmer the tamarind and the chiles down for a while and then purée them into a sauce over the roasted Brussels sprouts. I like to finish the dish with toasted cashews for an additional crunch, but you can leave that out if you have allergies. These would work really well with the Simple Marinated Skirt Steak or the Mexican Roast Chicken with Crispy Skin. (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp [75 ml] extra-virgin olive oil
4 or 5 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 small plum tomato, sliced lengthwise and seeded
2½ Tbsp unsweetened tamarind paste
2 guajillo chiles
2 small chiles de árbol
1 date, pitted
4 cups (453 g) Brussels sprouts, sliced
lengthwise and trimmed
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 Tbsp kosher salt
¼ cup [35 g] cashews, toasted and coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 475°F [240°C]. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
First, make the tamarind glaze. Pour the olive oil into a medium saucepan over low heat and add the garlic. Slowly cook the garlic in the oil until barely golden brown in color, 15 to 20 minutes. The garlic should be soft and easily pierced with a fork. Carefully add the tomato (it might splatter) and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, until the tomato is very soft and falling apart. Add 1 Tbsp of water, the tamarind, guajillo, chiles de árbol, and date. Increase the heat to medium-high to bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes more.
Let cool so it’s just warm rather than hot, then transfer to a blender and purée for 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the blender several times to make sure all the ingredients get fully incorporated. Season with salt. If the sauce is too thick, you can add another 1 to 2 Tbsp of water. It should be a loose sauce, not quite a vinaigrette, but not super thick either.
Next, make the Brussels sprouts. Toss the Brussels sprouts with the olive oil and salt. Spread them evenly (cut-side down) on the sheet tray and roast in the oven for 12 to 13 minutes or until tender but not mushy.
In a large bowl, toss the roasted Brussels with about 1½ Tbsp of the glaze. Taste and adjust so it suits you. Garnish with the cashews and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator 3 days.
Reprinted from Good for You by Akhtar Nawab with permission by Chronicle Books, 2020. Photography by Antonis Achilleos.