Our small patch of vegetable garden is blooming, thanks to much planning and effort of hubby dear. This morning’s bounty was: purple brinjals(aubergines), fresh green mint and some gourds. Indeed it is so gratifying and therapeutic, as we work in the garden. A very relaxing, yet rewarding exercise!
My friend from Kerala ( southern India) visited me recently, and admired the papaya tree. ‘Wow, can you give me one green papaya, please? I’ll cook you a delicious Kerala curry.’ Smiles exchanged, papaya given!
Raw papaya is often used in Kerala cuisine, not so much in other parts of India though. But in North India it does find its way into chutneys and masala parathas. It’s relatively bland flavour makes it versatile to combine with other vegetables like potato, carrot, peas, beans, bottle gourd, chow-chow etc.
Being a powerhouse of enzymes it has many benefits from cleansing the internal system, to making face mask and to providing papain for good digestion. No wonder it’s very sought after for medical and skin care products. (I rub the ripe papaya skin on my face and hands, for a cleansing effect, then wash after 10 minutes:)
Raw Papaya Avial (curry with coconut paste). Serves 5-8.
1 raw papaya( with a slight yellow tinge)
1 raw plantain / banana
2-3 drumsticks ( not chicken, but a long green slender vegetable)
1/2 coconut grated
1/2 inch ginger
2 tsps cumin seeds lightly roasted
2 -3 tsps Coconut oil for cooking /or other oil
2 sprigs of Curry leaves
4-6 green chillies
1-2 red chillies (for garnish)
1 cup thick yoghurt
salt to taste
Wash well and peel all the vegetables. Cut them into 1 inch squares or lengthwise as prefered. Put a large pot with 2-4 cups of water to boil, place vegetables in it, add some salt and cook till almost tender ( 15- 20 mins. approx.)
Till then, make a paste of grated coconut either in blender or traditional method of using stone mortar. ( this is a wonderful arm exercise, but needs rigour and skill to keep pushing the coconut to the centre, as it tends to spill on sides). Crush and paste the roasted cumin seeds- a burst of aroma fills the kitchen! Make a paste of ginger and chillies, add salt while crushing.
Check the boiling vegetables, reduce heat!
Now add the ground paste and coconut to the vegetables, lightly stir. Adjust salt and chilli as required.
In an iron pan / or non stick wok pour oil and heat. When warm, add a few cumin seeds, tear and add curry leaves and 1-2 red chillies. As this splutters, pour on top of boiled vegetable mix. Reserve some for garnish.
Now take off the heat, add and stir thick yoghurt with care. Mix gently. Heat for 5 minutes. Its’s ready for serving with a bowl of steaming rice.
To serve, take some Avial / curry place it in serving bowl. Garnish with spluttered oil, cumin, red chilli mix. Enjoy the meal.
What have you planted in your garden? How do you enjoy the flowers or vegetables?
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