Preparation time 20 minutes, cooking time 10-12 minutes.
450 g asparagus, washed, trimmed and dried with some kitchen paper.
½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp black peppercorns
Pinch of red chilli flakes
1 tbs groundnut oil
4 spring onions, chopped finely
1 tsp pulped ginger
2 tbs lime juice
Zest of one lime
½ tsp grated jaggery
Sea salt to taste
Fresh coriander, a handful chopped finely
Take a small dry frying pan set on a low heat, add the key spices and gently warm through for 1 minute – remember you just want to tease the spices to release a little of their oils, and rest of their flavours need to be retained to be infused into the asparagus.
Remove from the heat, place in a pestle and mortar, and grind to a powder. Set aside.
Heat a wok on a medium to high heat. One of the keys to successful stir-frying is pre-heating the wok before adding the oil, which should only take 1 minute. The wok should be just starting to smoke slightly. Add the oil, which will heat up really quickly, then add the spring onions and ginger. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon.
Add the contents of the pestle and mortar along with jaggery and sea salt to taste, stirring all the time. Add the asparagus and ensure it is coated well with the other ingredients.
You should then only need 1-2 minutes to stir-fry the asparagus.
Remove from the heat, add the lime juice, lime zest and fresh coriander.
The best tip for trimming is by bending the asparagus spear, it snaps at exactly the spot where the tough stalk meets the tender spear.
Spice for Life by Anjula Devi includes meat and fish recipes too and is published by Clearview Books
Photography by Dan Jones. Priced at £25 and available online and from all good bookshops.