Jenji Gassi / Crab Curry Mangalorean Style Recipe
I’ve always complained how I miss eating seafood here in Gurgaon. Supermarkets and online stores do stock some gems from the ocean but I never bothered getting myself any. I thought they’d be way more expensive than what it is back home. As it turns out, some of it costs just the same. Like blue crab for instance. The ones I saw at this supermarket were lovely. Without missing a beat I got myself 3 big ones.
Batate Saung / Potatoes in a fiery sauce
..well, as fiery as you want it to be. Batate saung traditionally is a Mangalorean dish. If I have to narrow it down further, it’s a Konkani dish. Konkani style fare is most sought after vegetarian food in Mangalore, as I remember it. That’s why grandma took on to making some of them at home regularly. Most of their dishes are light and relatively healthy. But this batate saung was something else. Fiery, sour and delicious. Using only onions, potato and a spice paste with chillies, coconut, coriander seeds and tamarind, this one takes just about 15-20 mins to make.
Kadle Manoli Aajadina / Ivy Gourd and Chickpeas with Coconut
This one’s no different from the beans aajadina I had cooked recently. This one too uses the same coconut mixture in the end to be stirred in. Ivy gourd, from what I’ve seen and eaten around here, is almost always cooked to death. Well, that’s true for most vegetables. Homemade or not, these lovely crisp veggies are often overcooked with so many spices that you won’t know what you’re eating. I guess that’s why many twitch their face when they see these vegetables being served at lunch in the office or at home. Thankfully, I’ve grown up eating vegetables cooked lightly so they retain their colour, shape and original taste.
Beans Aajadina / Beans Sukka / Beans stir fried with coconut
French beans are one of my favourite vegetables. It cooks fast and works in any form and cuisine. Be it a quick stir fry with salt and pepper or garam masala or in sambar, beans are made a number of ways in India. One of my go to recipes is a sukka. We are more familiar with chicken, mutton and seafood sukka dishes at restaurants. But back home, sukka or as it’s called in Tulu “aajadina”, is a common way of making a side dish with vegetables. Beans, ivy gourd, chickpeas and many other legumes and vegetables are made this style.
Recipe for thouthe koddel / Mangalore cucumber curry
Thouthe koddel is what I grew up eating. Grandma and mother would make it at least once a week. It’s spicy, sour and is balanced perfectly well with a little jaggery. Like most Mangalorean curries, this one too has a coconut based ground spice mix. Koddel can be made with many vegetables – ash gourd, okra/lady’s finger, Malabar spinach and others. But my koddel was made with Mangalore cucumber, also called Madras cucumber, Thouthe in Tulu and southe kai in Kannada. It is a part of the cucumber family and the texture is close to that of bottle gourd, but tastier. Ideally it shouldn’t be turned into mush. Thouthe pieces should hold their shape and form and have a bit of give when you bite into them.
Thambuli is from Udupi, as far as I know. Growing up we did have it made at home with different green leaves – spinach, coriander, amaranth leaves, methi leaves and more. Then there are kinds without the greens like ginger, methi and plain coconut. They all have two things in common – a coconut base and yoghurt. Ideally a summer side dish, thambuli is very cooling and delicious. For people who don’t like consuming yoghurt as it is, thambuli works great.
A good fish curry is an absolute favourite of mine. Ideally, fish curries at home are made with sardines and mackerels. Sear fish (surmai) is usually pan fried. I made my curry with rohu fish. Full of bones yet works very well with Mangalorean curries. I already had the spice paste from the kori sukka I’d made. I just simmered the fish in this spice paste with tamarind water and my curry was ready.
When you’re in no mood to cook but have enough material to whip up something for dinner in just a few minutes and about two steps, it’s time for makeovers for leftovers. Remember my kori sukka from a few days ago? In that post I mentioned I was saving the curry for something else. Here it is. One lazy night I turned it into an egg gassi. I could have made it easier by just cracking open the eggs into the curry but I hard boiled a few eggs and dunked them in the gassi.
Coming from Mangalore, most dishes at home was made with coconut. Either curry or a dry dish, they had a coconut base. Chicken sukka is a dry dish made with freshly ground spice paste and lots of freshly grated coconut to finish it off. Once the chicken in cooked, we wait for it most of the liquid to evaporate so it turns dry enough. When there’s still a little left we add the grated coconut and a tempering of fried onions and curry leaves. We often had this with rice and dal.
I post most of my meals’ pictures on Instagram regularly (follow me). The picture of my dinner plate recently seemed to delight many people. I was asked the recipe of the bitter gourd dish in it, hence the post. “Kanchala ithnda yenchala unoli” – what my grandmother said (in Tulu) every time I pulled a face after learning it was this dish being made for lunch. Loosely translated – when there’s bitter gourd you can manage getting through a meal. Bitter gourd doesn’t have a good reputation because of its bitterness. But I’m glad to learn there are a number of takers like me who love it. However, I think I like it only the way mum or granny used to make it – sweet and spicy. So there’s bitterness from the vegetable, sweetness comes from jaggery and the heat from chillies. Jaggery is added generously so you actually taste the sweetness. I deseeded the chillies because I prefer its colour to its heat. And mind you, it was still hot.