Basil-scented sautéed vegetables

Basil-scented sautéed vegetables


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About this recipe: A large non-stick frying pan is ideal for sautéeing, the Western equivalent of stir-frying, based on quick cooking over high heat. This is a terrific method for preserving the colour of vegetables while bringing out their flavour to the full. Serve the vegetables with fish, poultry or meat, or toss them with freshly cooked noodles.

Azmina Govindji

Serves: 4 

  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) broccoli
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3–4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 large or 2 small red peppers, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 turnip, about 150 g (5½ oz), cut into bite-sized chunks
  • pinch of sugar
  • 8 sprigs of fresh basil, stalks discarded, then finely shredded
  • salt

Prep:10min  ›  Cook:8min  ›  Ready in:18min 

  1. Cut the broccoli into small florets; trim and thinly slice the stalks. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan or wok. Add the garlic, if using, the red pepper, turnip and slices of broccoli stalk. Sprinkle in the sugar and salt to taste. Cook for 2–3 minutes, turning frequently.
  2. Add the broccoli florets and stir. Pour in 6 tbsp of water to provide a thin covering on the bottom of the pan. Cover and cook over a fairly high heat for 3–4 minutes. The broccoli should be just tender and bright green.
  3. Stir in the basil, replace the lid and leave on the heat for a few more seconds. Serve immediately.

Some more ideas

Sugarsnap peas or mange-tout can be used instead of the broccoli. They will cook in 1–2 minutes and there is no need to add the water. Serve with lemon or lime wedges so that the juice can be squeezed over the vegetables. * As well as replacing the broccoli with sugarsnap peas, use yellow peppers in place of red. Omit the garlic. Substitute tiny parboiled new potatoes, halved, for the turnip and sprinkle generously with fresh tarragon leaves rather than basil. This combination of sautéed vegetables is delicious with fish, especially grilled mackerel or salmon. * For a Far-Eastern flavour, replace the turnips with 8 canned water chestnuts, drained and quartered or halved, and add 1 tsp chopped fresh root ginger and ½ fresh green or red chilli, seeded and finely chopped, with the broccoli florets. Increase the quantity of sugar to 1–2 tsp. At the end of cooking, add 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander with the basil.

Plus points

This dish is loaded with ingredients that help to fight cancer and prevent heart disease. Broccoli, one of the brassicas, is a good source of the phytochemicals called glucosinolates. Red pepper is a rich source of the antioxidant beta-carotene which the body can convert into vitamin A. * In addition to providing fibre, turnips contain the B vitamins niacin and B6, and are a surprisingly useful source of vitamin C.

Each serving provides

Excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C. Good source of folate, vitamin E. Useful source of iron, niacin.

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