Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mixed Vegetable Kachri



Scene1

Spouse, Sra having dinner

Spouse: Uncle just didn't like this dish, you know, he found it too sour, but I loved it, of course, because I love sour stuff.

Sra: Hmm.

Scene 2

Dinner next day

Spouse: Hey, there's brinjal (eggplant/aubergine) in this!
Sra: No, there isn't.
Spouse: Come on, I can see the pulp, all squishy.
Sra: Yes, it's there.

Spouse, Sra continue with their dinner

And so there was, the brinjal pulp. But it wasn't any ploy to get the Spouse to eat something-that-he-doesn't-which-is-good-for-him, just a way to include more vegetables into a mixed vegetable dish and include him in the process of cleaning it out faster!

Most of the vegetables are stuff that the Spouse won't even deign to look at when their identity is clear - yellow pumpkin, beans of the country variety, small gourds further cut up, you get the picture ... It did have something the Spouse took a liking to, though - kachri powder from my recent trip to Rajasthan.


See that wrinkly little thing there, looking like a bleached walnut, a crumpled dead leaf? It's actually a gourd itself, like a small, tiny watermelon. My friends and I visited the market near our hotel in Jaipur at about 8 p.m specifically for this - I bought about half a kilo of the fresh ones and during the vegetable seller's patient description of how it could be used in a chutney, lost patience but kept nodding, so naturally, I did not know what to do with it when I got back home. More frustratingly, peeling it didn't help - it depleted the gourd of three-fourths of its substance and I was left with very little to use - the peel was quite tough and took much of the flesh with it!


I probably didn't know how to do it right, because there's a picture below from my trip that shows that someone in Rajasthan got it right!

I put it in dal and it tasted very much like dosakai (melon cucumber). But I got tired of it after two dals and gave it away. Perhaps there is a recipe for fresh kachri chutney on the Net, but none else.



Then I launched into the dried kachri that I had bought in Jaisalmer (which is also where I saw the fresh kachri first). It needs to be pounded to powder, a chore I somehow enjoy. Perhaps pervertedly, but I do.

I used Tarla Dalal's recipe at first but two tries on, I've developed my own mix of vegetables with whatever's available, and spices. In doing so, I'm probably violating some hallowed rule about amounts and proportions or ratio of hard to soft vegetables and non-includables, but that makes it an ever-original, and evergreen recipe, doesn't it, with surprises at every stage! Most recently, I used a combination of yellow pumpkin, brinjal, dondakai/tendli/coccinea and I forget what else, with this recipe.

What you need:

Assorted vegetables, chopped - to make 3-4 cups
Garlic: 5-10 cloves, minced (optional)
Shah jeera/jeera/caraway/cumin seed: 1 tsp
Plain chilli powder/mixed up chilli powder: 1-2 tsp (I use the latter)
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
Tomato: 2-3, diced
Kachri powder: 1 tbsp
Lime juice: To taste
Salt: To taste
Oil: 2-3 spoons

Temper heated oil with the cumin/caraway and the garlic.

Add the vegetables and the turmeric and chilli powder and mix well. Cover and cook on a slow flame till the vegetables are cooked, ensuring they aren't sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomato and salt and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the lime juice and kachri, and mix well.

This is a very popular meat tenderizer. See a pretty picture and more info here.

And here's more info from Tarla Dalal herself!

Quite a few recipes mention amchur as a substitute and I've made similar curries with both - the tastes are very, very different.

Here's a post that attracted my attention and two more discoveries and experiences of kachri from the blog world.

This post goes off to Graziana of Erbe in Cucina who's hosting Weekend Herb Blogging now run by Haalo and created by Kalyn.

17 comments:

  1. Still confused...what is kachri. Anyhoo...the spouse ate it up..so that is good.

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  2. I dont think I have ever seen a veggie like that. One of the best thing about travelling is i think is one bring back food things back home to try at home.When ever we come back from travel we bring some food item back or one or other dish we tasted there. And even when hubby goes alone he coma back home and tell me he ate so and so and that i should try to create this excelent dish he ate :-)

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  3. I tried to read the title as khichri, then read the whole post and it turned into kachri midway. :-)
    I have no idea about this veggie ... must ask the in-laws. Good that you at least got it into something ... am so scared of trying out new things in food.

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  4. I have had a chutney with kachri with lots of garlic and dry red chillies and i had loved it .

    This curry looks like a bengali chorchori (i like that too), The flavors will be different and i think i would like it with any combination of firm and squishy veggies may be with some greens thrown in too..

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  5. ..getting nostalgic with Kachri! A staple veggie in my home before marriage and an extinct one after wards :) Ages since I have seen this sour & tangy bulbs.
    Dried Kachri is used to make chutney and mixed along with Ker Sangari for a lovely curry. Fresh ones are normally cooked and eaten as soon as they are done.
    Remember eating the raw Kachris smeared with black salt and red chilly powder when we were young.
    Love your veggie version with brinjals.

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  6. I got a book from the library yesterday that mentioned that kachri powder can be used to tenderise meat. And I had no clue what kachri was! Thanks, I'm enlightened now :) Can you send me some, I'm sure I don't get it here ;)

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  7. i am hearing of kachri for the first time... but hats off for trying something new so nonchalantly!

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  8. This is very new to me.. Never heard abt this veggie but looks gr8:)

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  9. New to me too ..I thought the post is of khichri ;) ...

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  10. Ok, out with it Sra. Whose head are you imagining when you pound stuff? :)

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  11. Very nice post. Love those kachris. We usually make pickles out of it and sometimes use it in curries as well. Love your recipe.

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  12. Hmmm....it does look like a version of dosakai. All gourds can be made into thogayal IMO, because they are just water at the end of the day ;)

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  13. I'm growing kachri this year but I don't know anything about it, thank you for the informations and for joining to WHB.

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  14. Your dialogue cracks me up, Sra. We don't speak of the meal I put forth; my guy just gobbles it down for most part with praise and gratitude. He may/may not notice the sour (if any), but he'd rail mightily if he suspected eggplant. You give me courage to play a fast one. ; D

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  15. Kachri is tasty! I was introduced by my Rajasthani neighbour and I love the pickle most. The dish looks good and I like the camouflaging:).

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  16. Wow this looks absolutely good and probably taste delicious. I can’t wait to try this at home.

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  17. Sra,
    Well you keep introducing new things to us and this one is new also..I guess never seen kachri but liked the mixed vegetable kachri, looks more of a chorchori types to me :-)..hugs and smiles

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