It’s time for Food of the World again and this month is India. It was my turn to pick the country and I picked India for a few reasons. First of all, with the hundreds of Indian recipes on this blog, it is a cuisine I am very knowledgeable about and I thought what better way to celebrate Indian Independence Day coming up in a few days.
Recently, I started a new professional venture becoming the chef of a new fusion restaurant concept called Samosa, so my schedule has been very hectic. Thankfully, I had this recipe sitting in my drafts for several months just waiting to be posted.
Everytime I go to the Indian market, I try to pick up a new vegetable I haven’t tried before. The variety of vegetables you see there is an eye-opening experience to a totally different world, when compared to American supermarkets.
Names of vegetables you’ve never heard before are printed on the signs like round valor, flat valor, dudhi, methi, karela, drumstick and tindora. Even the ones with English names you most probably haven’t seen before like white pumpkin, ridge gourd and snake gourd.
I have seen many recipes in the blogosphere using tindoora, also known as ivy gourd. This time I decided it was time to try it. Tindora look like baby cucumbers, except they are much firmer, so need to be cooked instead of eaten raw like we do regular cucumbers.
- 2 cups cooked Basmati rice
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 teaspoons ghee
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- 4 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 green cardamom
- 1 star anise
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 1/2 tablespoons frozen grated coconut, defrosted (or freshly grated coconut)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon red chile powder (cayenne pepper)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 8 oz. tindora, ends trimmed and split in half lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- salt, to taste
- 5 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 5 mint leaves, finely chopped
- 2 green chiles, finely chopped
Using a coffee/spice grinder, grind grated coconut with 1 tablespoon of water until you have a fine coconut paste.
Combine finely chopped cilantro, mint and green chiles. Crush well.
Heat ghee and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil. Add tindoora/ivy gourd and saute until well browned, about 15 minutes.
Remove to a plate.
Add the remaining oil. Add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaf and star anise. Fry for 1 minute. Add onions and saute until softened. Add ginger garlic paste, crushed cilantro, mint and chiles. Saute for another 3 minutes.
Add coconut paste and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add cumin, coriander, cayenne, tumeric and tindora. Cook on low heat for another 5 minutes.
Add cooked rice and toss well. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the rice is well coated with the spices and heated through.
Garnish with more cilantro leaves.
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