When he was growing up, chef Sai Viswanath loved his mother's upma, a homey mix of old, torn-up sandwich bread and chopped vegetables sautéed with curry leaves, black mustard seeds and chile pepper—the flavor trinity of southern India. In his Americanized version, Viswanath lightly browns cubes of sweet corn bread (which also appears in the bread baskets at DeWolf Tavern), then tosses them with pleasantly bitter brussels sprouts, mustard oil and crushed red pepper.
Delicious, Quick Side Dishes
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons honey
1 pound brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons mustard oil or vegetable oil
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 400°. Butter and flour a 9-inch square baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the cornmeal, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs to mix, then whisk in the milk, butter and honey. Using a rubber spatula, lightly stir the wet ingredients into the dry; stir until just blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the corn bread springs back when lightly pressed. Transfer the corn bread to a rack to cool. Cut half of the corn bread into 3/4-inch cubes. Wrap the remaining corn bread and reserve for another use.
In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the brussels sprouts until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and slice lengthwise 1/3-inch thick.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the corn bread cubes, sprinkle with the crushed red pepper and cook over high heat until browned all over, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer to a platter. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the brussels sprouts and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until hot, about 1 minute. Season with salt and black pepper and gently stir in the corn bread. Transfer the hash to the platter; serve.
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