Raghavan Iyer’s Asparagus and Tomato Recipe

Raghavan Iyer, James Beard Award winner and world-renown chef, stopped by the TCL kitchen to share a tasty asparagus and tomato dish.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seed, ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed, ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed, and cut crosswise or at a diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 medium tomato, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems


  1. Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the mustard seed.  Cover the pan and wait until all the seed has stopped popping (not unlike popcorn), about 30 seconds.  Sprinkle in the cumin seed, which will instantly turn reddish-brown and smell fragrant.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and dump in the coriander, salt, ground cumin, cayenne, sugar, turmeric, and asafetida.  The heat from the oil is just right to instantly cook the ground spices without burning them.  Immediately add the asparagus to the mix, returning the pan to the heat.  Stir to coat the vegetable with the spices.
  3. Pour in the water and stir in the tomato.  Heat the thin-sauced curry to boil.  Lower the heat to medium-low and cook the asparagus, stirring occasionally, until they are fork-tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Serve sprinkled with the cilantro.

Visit Raghavan’s restaurant, Pizza Karma

8451 Joiner Way, Eden Prairie, MN 55344

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