Mixed Vegetables in Almond Sauce

For the first time in a year of my blogging 'career' I have been missing in action for more than a month. I had too many things on my plate otherwise that neither gave me the time to cook nor the energy to blog. And then I was out of station for the last three weeks, busy making dreams come true. I am just back from the trip of a lifetime...my suitcases not yet unpacked, my mind not yet in its right place.
Of the million things during the vacation that make me grin with nostalgia, there's one thing that brings sorrow untold. And that is the mysterious loss of my camera. Now you know a food blogger's life is more or less futile without a camera. So till the time I get a new one, let me share with you this Mixed Vegetables in Almond Sauce that I had churned out one of those winter afternoons but never really wrote about.

Button mushrooms, cut into halves: 250 gm
Cauliflower, cut into florets: 1 medium head
Carrots, cubed: 1 medium
Capsicum, cubed: 1 medium
Peas: 200 gm
Onion, finely chopped: 1 
Garlic, chopped finely: 1 tsp
Olive oil: 1.5 tsp
Salt, to taste (I used garlic salt)

For almond sauce:

Almonds, blanched and peeled: 1 cup
Butter: 1 tbsp
Garlic, chopped finely: 1.5 tsp
Onion, chopped finely: 1/2
Chicken stock: 2 cups
Milk: 1 cup (you can substitute some of the milk with cream if you want it richer)
Parmesan cheese, grated: 3-4 tbsp
Salt, to taste
Pepper powder, to taste
Nutmeg, freshly grated: a fat pinch


1. In a deep-bottomed saucepan, steam the cauliflower and carrot for 2-3 minutes till just al dente. Drain, run under cold water and set aside.

2. For the sauce: In a blender, pulse the almonds, 1/2 cup chicken stock and garlic till smooth. In a saucepan, melt butter and sauté onions for a minute or so. Add the pureed almonds. Cook on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the remaining stock, milk and bring to a boil. Now lower the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning along with the nutmeg. Throw in the parmesan and allow that to dissolve in the sauce. Check consistency and when it's perfect turn off gas and set aside.

3. In a non-stick wok, heat olive oil and add onions and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté for another couple of minutes.

4. Add the steamed cauliflower, carrots and peas and mix everything well. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. I threw in a handful of ham as well as I just had two stray slices lying around!

5. Add the almond sauce into the vegetable mixture and mix well so that everything is coated in the smooth silky sauce. Add a little bit of milk if you want it more liquidy. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. Cook covered for 2 minutes and uncovered for another minute.

6. Serve hot with garlic bread. You can even throw in some boiled pasta and make a Mixed Vegetable Pasta in Almond Sauce out of it. :)
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