Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Surplus Management Lesson - Mango Curry

Last month, I went to Bangalore and chanced upon an exhibition of mangoes from Karnataka in Lalbagh. Past lamentations and scruples about glut and leftovers, modest eating, etc, became things of the past. My resolve dissolved and I turned into a greedy pig and a hapless hoarder. (If you were to say greedy and hapless don't go together, your objection might be valid, but really, greed is a weakness, isn't it, so the adjective hapless suits it quite well.)

I ended up with several specimens of this new discovery of mine called Sakkaregutti (Sugar Baby in English). Tiny mangoes that are just about fist-sized or smaller. Juicy little things that you can be done with in one or two mouthfuls. I knew I would not be able to eat so many steadily and needed to find a way to use at least some of them up. One of our friends in Bangalore had served us a curry made of similar mangoes. She said it was based on a Mangalorean dish.

I wanted to try something different so I made this, a sweet and sour curry applying a recipe often used with less exotic protagonists. This is broadly based on the ‘pulusus’ (light tamarind-based gravies) made in Telugu cuisine. The next time I am stuck with more mango, any variety, than I can eat as fruit, this will be one way to dispose of them.

(Serves 4)


Sakkaregutti (or other small fist-sized mangoes), peeled, whole – 10
Tamarind juice – extracted from 3-4 pieces soaked in 2.5 cups of water
Jaggery – ½ tbsp
Turmeric – ½ tsp
Mustard seed – ¾ tsp
Cumin seed – ½ tsp
Dry red chilli – 2, broken
Split, hulled black gram/urad dal – 1 tsp
Crystal asafoetida – ¼ tsp
Curry leaves – 3-4
Salt – ¾ tsp, to begin with
Red chilli powder – ¾ tsp, or to taste
Oil – ½ tbsp
Coriander leaves, to garnish
Heat the oil, temper with the mustard, cumin, red chilli, black gram, asafoetida and curry leaf, in that order as they splutter/turn colour.
Add the peeled, whole mangoes and sauté for a couple of minutes.
Add the tamarind water, salt, chilli powder and cook on medium flame for about eight minutes. Add more water if you think it’s necessary. 
Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary and add the jaggery. Simmer for a few minutes and then turn off the flame. Garnish with chopped coriander.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Experimenting with Bok Choy

Remember this post about bok choy? Remember me? Whether you do or not, I'm going to tell you about my latest experiments with bok choy.

I found a couple of good specimens recently and became fixated on the idea of a garlicky stir-fry. I recently acquired a jade green stone pestle and mortar so it's easy to throw in any number of cloves of garlic, pound them and use them. (Not that it was much more difficult earlier.) 

I made this about two weeks ago, I think. There is no fixed recipe for this. I wanted the taste of the garlic and the chilli to be prominent, and decided to use mustard oil to cook this in. So I heated the oil, added the garlic and the chilli and all the bok choy chopped up, let it wilt and wilt and dry, and then added a bit of salt, stirred it and took it off the fire. It tasted bitter and sharp initially but I soldiered on and managed to finish two cups. I quite liked it, finally.

My leftover problems haven't been left behind - so I had visions of the bok choy going into a nice and colourful fried rice with a little leftover beetroot, leftover rice and a fresh fried egg. As I'm consciously cutting down on salt, it all tasted a little bland, but I'm sure when you toss everything together and liberally add salt and pepper and remember to add the egg after it's been fried both sides and not worked through the rice sunny side up, it will be much better.

Oh yes! This dish also has some snow peas I purchased for a rather obscene amount at a store expats frequent - they too me two weeks to finish, but they're finally gone, unsucculent and shrivelled as they were! (They were never very good, unlike their ilk I have tasted elsewhere.)  Hurrah for me! I ate every single bit of my Rs 350.