Friday, June 20, 2008

10 Simple Konkani Recipes

The one page cookbooks give you basic, fool proof recipes, designed to be cooked by anyone in less than 30 minutes. For more detailed recipes and delightful variations , check out my fellow bloggers.

Bhinda Kadi (Raw Kokum Curry)
Fresh kokum / kokum syrup is not widely available outside Konkan region. Instead you can use dried kokum by soaking 3-4 peels it in water for half an hour. Fresh kokum gives the curry a delightful pink colour, whereas dried kokum gives an earthy brown colour.

Sola Kadi (Raw Kokum Curry with coconut milk) Replace half the water in the Bhinda Kadi above with coconut milk and you have the Sola Kadi. Coconut paste, garlic paste and green chilly paste can be mixed in with both Bhinda kadi and Sola Kadi.

Kosambir is a salad with soaked mung dal, mixed with salad vegetables and lemon juice. This is served as a prasad in many temples.

Airawat (Tamarind – Dates blended curry)
A must in wedding and religious functions, this blended curry is very easy to prepare.

Palak Upkari( Stir fried spinach with coconut)
A variety of boiled vegetables are mixed with grated coconut and stir fried into delicious Upkaris.

Kadgi Chakko : (Raw jack fruit curry)
Baby jackfruit is boiled and stir fried with a paste of coconut, red chili and tamarind.

Batata Song ( Potato cooked with chili- tamarind)
Potatoes are cooked in a roasted red chilies - coriander seeds and tamarind paste into a thick curry. Variations call for Mushrooms to be used in place of boiled potatoes.

Batate vaagu (Potato cooked in a chili - coconut - tomato base)
Here potatoes are cooked in a roasted red chili - coconut and tomato base.

Dali Thoye (Spiced lentil curry)
This spiced up Tuvar dal curry is much loved in the Konkan.

Avre Bendi ( Dry Beans in a chili - coconut - tamarind base)
Dried Avare (Navy Beans / Haricot beans / Val) is boiled and cooked in a roasted red chili, coconut and tamarind paste and flavoured with garlic. A wide variety of dried pulses can be used in this curry. Served with plain steamed rice, this is an important dish in Konkani weddings.

Each cuisine focuses on certain combinations, cooking techniques and uses unique goodies which can be applied universally, across cuisines. Here’s what I learnt from Konkani cuisine.

Raw coconut oil can be used as a flavouring agent. (Try using in place of oilve oil in Italian recipes or as a salad dressing )

Hot charcoal can be used as a flavouring agent to impart a smoky flavour. ( The same technique is also used in Awadhi cuisine)

Combinations of red chilies, tamarind, coconut can form the base for a wide variety of curries

Roasted red chilies taste much better than plain ones.

Boiled jack fruit can be used as a vegetable.

Tamarind dates - chili blend can be used a curry, dip or a spread. ( try as a dip for salads / as a spread on pizza)

Soaked mung dal can be used in salads.( Use in a variety of salads for a fresh crunchy texture)

Fresh / dry kokum can be used as a souring agent ( Try using in Kulambu / Sambar )

Kokum can be used to prepare chilled beverages very much like lemonades. (try using in cocktails)

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Okay, let me start from the very beginning. 1500 crore years ago, with a Big Bang, the Universe is born. It expands dramatically. Hydrogen forms, contracts under gravity and lights up, forming stars. Some stars explode, dusting space with the building blocks of life. These condense into planets, one of which is Earth. Over time, self replicating molecules appear, multiply and become more complex. They create elaborate survival machines (cells, plants, animals). A variety of lifeforms evolve. Soon, humans arise, discover fire, invent language, agriculture and religion. Civilisations rise and fall. Alexander marches into India. Moguls establish an empire. Britain follows. Independence. Partition. Bloodshed. The license raj is in full sway. I'm born. India struggles to find its place. Liberalisation. The Internet arrives! I move from Tirupur to Chennai. Start a company. Expand into Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East. Poof! Dot com bust. Funding dries up. Struggle. Retire. Discover the joy of cooking, giving, friendships and the pleasures of a simple life. Life seems less complicated. Pizza Republic, Pita Bite and Bhojan Express bloom !

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