Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sindhi Curry

I love experimenting with food and think that India has an amazing repertoire of dishes. Every corner of the country has its specialties, every household has its own individual touches and flourishes which make for a unique food experience. We have two food weeks at home which everyone looks forward to. One is world cuisine week - each day I cook an all-vegetarian meal from a different part of the world - France, Italy, Middle-eastern, Chinese, Thai, British, Mexican...The other one is India food week - each day is devoted to a different part of India - Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bengal, Gujarat, Kashmir, Punjab...This event gives me and my family lots of pleasure and of course, I do learn dishes which are used through the year to add variety to the daily table.

Among the varieties of Indian cooking that I picked up is Sindhi food. On Saturday, as my in-laws were coming for lunch, I made Sindhi curry with Jimikand ke kabab. Both the dishes turned out great and are definitely on my list of daily menus for the future.

Sindhi curry
1 cup of tur dal (I used mixed dals since I get a bigger kick out of that)
6-7 kokum, soaked in 1/2 cup warm water
2 tbsp tomato puree
150 gms guar phali (cluster beans), topped and tailed and whole/ cut into halves
100 gms lobhia beans (long beans), topped and tailed and whole/ cut into halves
1 inch Ginger, pounded fine
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
Pinch turmeric
2-3 green chillies
1 stalk curry leaves
2 tbsp chickpea flour (besan)
Pinch asafoetida (heeng)
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Chilli powder to taste
8 cups water

Cook the dal in 2 cups of water with the tomatoes. When done set aside to cool and then whisk/ run in the blender so the dal blends into a smooth mush.
Put the oil in a deep, heavy bottomed pan to heat on medium.
Add the turmeric, followed by cumin seeds, when the oil is hot. When they turn toasty, add the fenugreek seeds and asafoetida, followed by the curry leaves.
Then add the green chillies, followed by the ginger.
Add the besan and roast, stirring occasionally until the besan starts giging off its characteristically warm aroma.
Add the kokum, the dal, the beans and the water and set to simmer. Keep it cooking until the beans are done - about 45 minutes - 1 hour.
Then add the salt and chilli powder, adjusting to your level of spice.

I added a small lump of jaggery as I preferred it that way, though that is not traditional. This curry is typically served hot with rice, though it tasted good with rotis as well.

Jimikand ke kabab
1 medium sized jimikand (Yam), peeled, chopped and boiled/ cooked in a pressure cooker with minimal water
1 tbsp dhania powder
1 tbsp cumin powder
2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
2-3 gloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Chilli powder to taste
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or 2-3 tbsp chickpea flour (besan)
2-3 tbsp oil

Mash the jimikand into a smooth paste.
Add the other ingredients and mix together to form a dough, excluding the breadcrumbs/ besan and oil.
Form the dough into 15 - 20 round balls, adding the breadcrumbs to help it hold together.
Flatten the balls into patties.
Shallow fry on a griddle/ frying pan at medium heat until browned on both sides.
Serve with a meal or as starters or a snack, with green dhania-mint chutney.

PS. I believe Yam is from the broad family of cacti and succulents. Succulents are among my favourite types of plants, they are so individualistic.

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