this is one of those use-up-everything-in-the-kitchen serendipities. the fresh ingredients mirror exactly what i had laying around the kitchen at the time. i love finding ways to make boring or yucky vegetables adventuresome, even more than i hate throwing food away. this recipe borrows a lot from northern Indian cuisine, whose techniques are well suited to the climate in which i live, and to my own tastes. basically, you get some vegetables, cut them up, fry some spices, add the veggies and maybe some broth and/or water, and let it cook as long as it has to to a nice consistency. here i was with a hunk of ginger, a head of garlic, some leftover onion, two zucchinis about the size of a porn star’s whanger, and some canned goods whose labels were sufficiently sun-blanched that it seemed a good time to finally use them. i HATE zucchini, and i’m not a big fan of pinto beans. nevertheless, this came out real nice, and exemplifies some on-the-go techniques useful for dealing with random produce. enjoy! this dish was prepared side-by-side with my brown basmati recipe below.

2 medium-to-large zucchini, sliced into half-moons about 1/4″ thick
1 hunk of ginger the size of Don Alverzo’s thumb, peeled and minced
head of garlic, peeled, in whole cloves
as much onion as one has laying around, coarsely chopped
1 large can tomatoes, whole
1 large can pinto beans
1-1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed
3 bay leaves
dried, crushed red pepper to taste
tumeric to taste (2 teaspoons – that’s a LOT but i love it)
cayenne pepper to taste
black pepper to taste (freshly ground)
ground coriander to taste

1 tablespoon salt
3-4 tablespoons ghee or cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
6-12 Oz. chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water as necessary

heat olive oil in a deep 4-qt saucepan over high heat.
when hot, reduce heat to medium-high and add cumin, crushed red pepper, black mustard, bay leaves and ginger.
fry, stirring constantly, until ginger turns golden brown.
add onion and garlic, reduce heat to medium, stirring often, for 5-15 minutes according to preference.
add zucchini, tumeric, cayenne, black pepper, coriander and half the salt. fry over medium heat about a few minutes, stirring often, then reduce heat to low, cover tightly, and allow to simmer for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
[NOTE: spice powders may form a soft crust at the bottom of the pan; keep lifting and folding this in to prevent burning.]

add tomatoes, broth and remaining salt (to taste.) simmer slowly, partially covered, for up to an hour, adding liquid as necessary to maintain a light sauce, allowing to thicken toward the end of cooking time. add the canned beans to the melange about ten minutes before serving.
remove bay leaves and serve!

serves 6-8.