Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jackfruit curry

Lunch at Suruchi. Doesn't quite have the same zing as 'Breakfast at Tiffany's" - however that was one session of gluttony (on my part).

After 8 long years I went to Suruchi yesterday for lunch. An air con has been added, some attempts at beautifying, thankfully more or less unchanged. .The ocassion was to introduce two visitors from UK to Bengali food. One of them stuck to vegetarian and the other tried bits of non-veg items from us. I sat in a corner and ate. And how. Rice, musoor dal, aloo bhaja, kanchkolar kofta curry, echor er dalna, bhetki fry, bhapa ilish, a bit of chingri, gokul pithey and ampora sarbat. This is what I ate. Regretfully, I had to turn down pabda, parshey, galda chingri and mangshor jhol that others had ordered. Afternoon at work was AGONY - felt comatose. Luckily recovered sufficiently to be able to have echor-er dalna for dinner at home! So here is the recipe for Jackfruit curry - Echorer dalna (the way its made at home, by K our cook):

You will need:

Jackfruit - 1/2 kilo
Onion - 1
Garlic - 3-4
Ginger - 1/2"
Tomato - 1-2
Potato - 1
Cooking Oil

For the Garam Masala
1 green ilaichi, 2 cloves, 1/2" cinamon stick in a mortar - Coarsely grind
1 bay leaf

How to:

Cut the jackfruit. I find it difficult so I ask the vendor. But if you do happen to be adventourous...remember to remove the bits which feel plasticky!

Cut it into small cubes. Wash and clean. Smear with a pinch of turmeric and 1/2 tsp of salt and cook in a pressure cooker with a little water for one whistle. Drain and set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a kadai. Add the sliced onions, ginger and garlic paste. Stir. Add the cubed potatoes and fry.

Add the tomatoes. Season with salt. Stir well.

Cook till the potatoes are half done.

Add the jackfruit. Add the ground garam masala and bay leaf, 1/2 tsp sugar. Adjust for salt. Add one glass of water, cover and cook on low flame for 20 minutes or till done.

Remove from fire and eat - with rice!

PS - This dish can be made without onions, garlic and ginger. If you want more curry, add more water, lesser for a thicker curry.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

J's Filipino shrimp vegetable stew

Ah the horrible weather. Can there be anything worse that this humidity? There is: A bad cold, runny nose, headache and humidity. Funny how both have been bogging me done for nearly two weeks and yet I haven't got used to them :-).

This afternoon, J, the VSO volunteer physiotherapist was eating what looked like a large bowl of soup with bread. She offered me some and I thought why not? I tasted a bit and the tangy soup was HEAVEN. Forgot my cold and the heat and humidity. I quickly looked around for a bowl, finding none, I grabbed a tea cup and a large spoon and took a proper helping (which J, bless her soul and her culinary skills, shared readily enough). "Liked it"? "Yes, Yes, yes...," I said. To which she replied - "Good. This means you can live in Phillipines happily". Very Very happily I thought. So in between the never ending job list, thursday staff meeting, she gave me the recipe and hurrah ... she gave me local substitutes, all available easily! We did have a small problem trying to figure out whether she used paalak or pui sag. Then she said - either would do...any green would do, I think. I have put in spinach because I thought it looked like spinach. The stew can be made without shrimps if you want something vegetarian. So here is J's Filipino shrimp vegetable stew.

You will need

Eggplant: 1 cubed
Lady's Finger: 4 cut into two
String Beans: 5-6 cut de-stringed and cut into two
Spinach leaves: 4-5 leaves shred coarsely
Onions: 2 quartered
Tomato: 3 quartered
Shrimps: Handful
or Shrimp flavoured cube: 1-2
Tamarind powder: 250gms
or Tamarind pulp: 1 lemon sized ball
Salt to taste
Water: 250 ml

How to

  1. Wash and cut all the vegetables and drain.
  2. Devein the shrimps, remove the shell and keep aside.
  3. Stir fry the shrimps lightly and reserve.
  4. Grind the shells in a mortar and soak in a little bit of warm water. Strain the shells through a seive. Remove the shells and reserve the water.
  5. You can omit step 3 & 4 if you manage to get hold of shrimp flavoured stock.
  6. Boil water in a pan.
  7. Add the quartered onions and tomatoes and cook over medium flame till the tomatoes become pulpy.
  8. Add the shrimps, vegetable and salt.
  9. When the vegetables are slightly cooked, add the tamarind powder or tararind water got from soaking a small ball of tamarind in hot water and strained.
  10. Cover and simmer till vegetables are cooked.
  11. Eat & Enjoy!
PS - Makes about 2-3 large soup bowls but depends upon who is doing the eating! It would be one helping for me!!