Brussels sprouts are cute little vegetables and look a lot like mini versions of cabbages! Sad to say though, they have a bad reputation among kids and adults alike, mostly due to their bitter taste and smell both of which are actually caused by overcooking the vegetable! When cooked properly brussels sprouts have a much milder taste than cabbage and are great vessels for absorbing all the delicious flavors that you cook them with!
Brussels sprouts do not exist in traditional Indian cooking, so growing up it was never a vegetable that was prepared at home. The first time I ever had them was as a kid, when we were visiting Singapore and friends of my parents’ invited us over for dinner. Along with many other dishes, the hostess had also made a Brussels sprouts sambar (a spicy South Indian lentil soup eaten with rice) and added that her children “loved it!” (Why do I remember this?). It was the first time I had seen these cute little mini cabbages and probably thought, oh how cute and so expected them to taste like cabbage (a vegetable I DO like). Unfortunately as it turned out, adding Brussels sprouts to the sambar was a terrible idea. They were bitter and I could barely eat them. But being a good Indian child, I probably DID eat them and said “yes they are delicious, aunty! Thankyouverymuch!”. Good for her kids who “loved it”, because I certainly didn’t!
So decades went by and Brussels sprouts were all but a distant bitter memory, until I was reintroduced to them in graduate school. A Romanian friend of mine had some of us over for dinner and made them as a side. I believe she had simply roasted them in the oven with some simple seasonings. They. were. delicious! Then it dawned on me, Brussels sprouts need love and attention to bring out their full flavor and potential, and not unceremoniously dumped into sambar! So after that, I was a sprouts convert!
One of my favorite methods of preparing them is roasting them in the oven with some garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. They get crispy on the outside and the roasting process brings out the sweetness in them leaving no bitter taste! Recently, I bought a new cookbook “Fast, Fresh and Green” and there was a recipe in there for ginger braised brussels sprouts. It was a simple recipe and took a much shorter time to prepare than roasting them in the oven, making it a fast weeknight vegetable side! These sprouts have a delicious buttery tasty and still hold some of their crunch. For this recipe, I only added garlic and no ginger since I was serving them alongside my Quinoa and mushroom patties that I posted about last week.
I hope you will try this recipe and also become a brussels sprouts lover like me, and maybe if you have kids, you can get them to try it and they will “love it!” too!
3/4 – 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 small lime
salt to taste
In a saute pan with a lid, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons with olive oil over medium heat. Arrange Brussels sprouts, cut side down, in one layer in the pan (just add them to the pan and tip them over with the edge of a spatula so they are all cut side down). Season with salt and cook the sprouts until the bottoms are browned, 4 to 6 minutes.
Pour the vegetable broth into the pan and cover, leaving the lid a little open so that some steam escapes. Adjust the heat as needed and cook until the broth is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove the lid and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the garlic. Toss well and stir just until the butter has melted and the garlic is well incorporated. Gently squeeze the half lime all over the sprouts, toss to combine, and serve.