Instructions: Place the tamarind in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Crush with a fork and set aside to soften for 1 to 2 hours, breaking up the pulp occasionally. Put through a sieve, using a spoon or spatula to push through the pulp. Discard the fibrous material in the sieve. Measure 1/3 cup of tamarind puree and set aside.
Combine the spices in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy 4 quart pot with tight fitting lid. When it is hot, add the onion, ginger, garlic, and chiles, and cook, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spices and cook stirring until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the red bell pepper, cauliflower, and mushrooms, and sprinkle with salt. Stir the spices, and continue to cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high, and add the tamarind puree, coconut milk, and water to the pan. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garbanzo beans and simmer for 10 minutes until the vegetables are just tender. Add the peas and simmer for 5 minutes until they are just tender. Remove the star anise. Add salt to taste and sprinkle with cilantro.
NOTES : This is similar to a dish I make using Chinese cabbage. I am sure almost any nice vegetable could be added to this. The author of the cookbook recommends it be served with basmati rice and I certainly agree.
Depending on the heat of the chilies some people may need extra rice so make plenty.
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