A case for frozen mixed vegetables – The Denver Post


By Eric Kim, The New York Times

When Australian pop star Troye Sivan sings the line, “Take a trip into my garden, I’ve got so much to show ya” in his 2018 summer bop “Bloom,” he probably isn’t referring to an icy Eden of corn, carrots and peas. But he should be.

Buried inside freezers all over the United States today, bags of corn, carrots and peas — separate, or all together as “mixed vegetables” — are the workhorses of the home kitchen. A pea (or corn or carrot) flash-frozen at its peak ripeness is a thing of wonder, a reliable standby across cultures. Heat can reanimate the vegetables in a big pan of fried rice, in a burbling pot of vegetable-beef soup or in a luscious chicken potpie.

But frozen mixed vegetables come in especially handy when making shrimp fried rice, not least because the vegetables need only to be thawed by the skillet’s high heat. As you stir them into the shrimpy oil, they cook quickly, lending their gentle bite to the rice and enlivening it with a confetti of yellow, orange and green.

The medley’s staying power might lie in its classic colors, or in its natural sweetness, not to mention its cleverness. (The vegetables’ consistent size means they cook in the same amount of time.) But what makes the medley especially powerful is how it is seamlessly folded into dishes that don’t traditionally call for frozen vegetables.

In Indian cooking, sabzi comes to mind, as do pulao and biryani. Atlanta-based journalist Sonam Vashi makes a tadka of mustard seeds bloomed in oil, into which she blisters frozen mixed vegetables, which she then enjoys with paratha. Vashi said she learned this technique from her mother, who immigrated from India to Greer, South Carolina, in 1971 and was adapting to the groceries that were available to her.

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