It just so happened that I over-ordered carrots in our last Tesco delivery. While the temptation was great to whip up a carrot cake (mmm…), I have been warned by my partner to stop making delicious, sweet things and trying to fatten us both up for the wicked witch to consume. So, I sought out something different and savoury. I can’t say that it is the healthiest of recipes but the portions definitely were of a healthy size and the salad added a nice touch to the dish – I thought !
As usual, I shopped around for some recipes and used Ecualombian and my old favourite Amanda Laird from the Christmas souffle recipe. The end result was delicious. We had 1 each for lunch and one spare for a “leftovers” lunch on the weekend. Just beware that it isn’t a quick dinner option but is worth the time and effort. Also, this one isn’t for those trying to watch their calorie intake. Hope you try it and like it!
Carrot souffle on apple and rocket salad with balsamic vinegar
“Gojju” in Karnataka (where I grew up), refers to a thick, tangy sauce made with tamarind pulp, some basic spices and vegetables that will hold their shape when cooked in a sauce – like capsicum (peppers), eggplant (aubergine/brinjal), onions, okra (bhindi), lemon and so on. The tamarind pulp is the predominant ingredient and gives gojju the tang it is so well known for. Gojju, much like chutneys in the Western world, can be served as a condiment to rice dishes. Alternatively, gojju can be mixed with plain rice and consumed as a dish in itself.
Tomato gojju is a version of gojju which takes advantage of the abundance of tomatoes in the tomato rich season in South India. No tamarind is added to this version as tomato has its own subtler tang (yay Vitamin C) and a beautiful red colour that is much more appetising than the dark brown colour of a normal gojju.
Tomato gojju can be mixed with rice to make tomato bhath (mixed rice) or used as a dip to go with flatbread (rotis, chappatis), idlis (steamed rice cakes) and dosas (savoury rice and lentil pancakes). The recipe is easy and the end product is addictive. The hardest part is not to eat it all before the sauce thickens in the pot.
I’ve been having some fun with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to take the yellowness out of my pictures owing to the yellow lights in the house. I think it has worked well – hope you do too!
My last two posts Tempering/Seasoning de-constructed – Part I and Tempering/Seasoning de-constructed – Part II were about the concept of “tempering” with respect to South Indian food. In this blog, I want to bring your attention to the various kinds of tempering that I have used in the recipes already presented on this blog. You will see that tempering spices are never used one at a time but as a combination that works uniquely for each dish.
The word “tempering” brings to most minds the technique used for the toughening of steel or glass. For the food oriented mind, perhaps the tempering of chocolate or its slow heating and cooling comes to mind. To a mind that spent half its life in South India however, the word “tempering” means yummy food is on its way to one’s belly.
The Kannada word for “tempering” is “vogranne” and the Hindi word is “vagaar”. The similarity I can draw to other well known forms of tempering is that it requires heat. This technique of tempering comes to most South Indian cooks as second nature as does the stocking of tempering ingredients. Having grown up seeing my mum and grandma cook, and having cooked for many years myself, I don’t even have to think of what to add for tempering – it just comes naturally.
It was only recently that I realised that perhaps, it isn’t natural or intuitive to those who are did not grow up like I did. One of the main triggers was my partner going “You keep saying it’s simple but I’ve just counted 8 ingredients that you’ve rattled of. Do you really think it is that simple for me ?” And then, we were at a pub with a bunch of friends and I was having a conversation about Indian food and while describing the process of tempering, I realised how right my partner was. Especially as I realised that the person I was talking to had an expression on his face that read “Oh my God” – poor bugger!
Thus, I make this attempt to “de-construct” this mysterious tempering business. This first attempt is more applicable to South Indian food and I hope to follow it up in the future with a North Indian tempering blog at some point. I have provided the Kannada (my native language) and Hindi names for each ingredient in case your local shop imports them. In addition, there is a long list of pronunciations at the end of this blog and the part II blog to help you when you go shopping for the ingredients below. Finally, I’ve broken this blog into two parts mainly to make it less of a drag to read. Hope you find it informative !
In this part of the blog, I will complete my description of tempering ingredients. I will talk about dried red chillies, dried curry leaves, asafoetida, turmeric, red chilli powder and their use in tempering. The key thing about tempering is that it is never a single ingredient but a combination of the ingredients in the picture below used to add extra flavour to any dish you make.