Thursday, September 29, 2011

Manga awesomeness of the non- japanese kind

The Mango showers have come and gone, so has the mango season. The monsoon is here, and is now threatening to stay till Christmas. All we can think of are piping hot samosas, crunchy pakodas and crispy vadas with a cup of wonderfully aromatic tea (thats bliss for me) or Crumbs' out-of-this-world coffee (Crumbs' note: I did not pay her to write this. No really. I didn't.) HOWEVER, we are not telling you how to make those things right now, because we have to tell you about our mango adventures. Yes, it is a bit late for you to try them out, but hey, now you will have yet another reason to look forward to the next mango season. And plus, onam seemed like a good time to make up for all the festivals that we missed since we started blogging. Yeah we know onam's also gone now, but it was not like you guys love us for our immaculate sense of timing, no? (We know it's our winning smiles and stunning modesty that charms you.)

Things we do to bring joy and hope to your otherwise pre-technicolor life, right? We know. And you don't really have to thank us, we do it purely out of the goodness of our wonderful hearts. That is just the kind of people we are.

Our recipe for the week (probably the fortnight, or even the next couple of months, it's us we are talking about, you know) is the mind-boggling Mambazha curry aka Manga curry. Those of you who are not from that little strip of land that prides itself on the flexibility of the tongue (We know what you are thinking, and we think you should stop thinking about that, right now, and concentrate on the post. Work with us, will ya?), do not fret -- this is just a ripe mango curry, which is amazingly easy to make (Just like everything else on this blog. We are such easy going people, yes ma'am!). And we promise, no Japanese comics of the wide-eyed kind were tortured while making this curry.

So, you'll need-

Mangoes: Of course. It'd be a little anti-climatic if we made a mango curry without mangoes, now, won't it? Although, we do that with cheesecake (another story, another day) we are not quite ready to make that quantum leap with mangoes. So, get about 2 or 3 of the hatta-khatta ripe ones. If you do overdo the ripeness, it is fine, because the mangoes are going to be boiled within an inch of their lives anyway.

Coconut milk: One packet of the Hommade variety. If you are the hardworking types, or if you happen to have coconuts in abundance at home, then you extract the milk of one grated coconut. (We are still working on getting that funny way of extracting coconut milk, but today is not that day, okay?)

ALTERNATIVELY, you could use the the thing itself. You know, fresh coconut. About half should do the trick. Grated well.

About one cup of fresh curd. Please note, the curd here really refers to curd, and not the watered down and weary buttermilk predecessor that you find in most shops. At the risk of sounding like brand ambassadors, we would suggest that you buy one of those Nestle/ Milma/ VIjaya/ whatever-brand-it-is-in-Kolkata packaged curds. Unflavoured, of course, unless you want a dash of strawberry or chocoloate in your curry. (If it does turn out to be yum, let us know. Would probably save us an experiment.)

Two or three green chillis, five to six shallots (these are the cute li'l versions of onions, also known as sambar onions in some part of the retail world, please do not let their size fool you. They are much more flavourful and pungent than their large sized counterpart) (Crumbs' note: to people who know us personally, do you guys see a parallel there?) or one big onion, two spoons of turmeric powder, salt to taste, two red chilies and a few curry leaves. You know, the usual suspects. Or something.

First, wash and peel the mangoes. Cut them in large pieces (we usually just cut them into four major slices, one from each side) and put them in a large container, along with the mango seeds. Don't fret too much about the shape of the pieces, as long as they are LARGE. Add water for the boiling. Add some (aka two teaspoons) turmeric, salt to this, and let boil.

Take the green chillis, pretend you are the surgeon on House MD, and slit them through the middle with precision. If you cannot manage the precision, just pretend you are Grawp and the chillis are miserable Death Eaters instead. As long as you manage to split the chillis lengthwise, and still have two eyes intact, we are good. Once the mangoes get cooked for a while, take about half a glass of coconut milk (the thick Hommade one), add water to it, pour into the boiling mango mixture, and boil till the mangoes are soft and disintegrate into smaller bits. You could also opt to smash them into the mixture, if that brings on your Mojo.

While that is going on, may we encourage you to multi-task and heat some oil in a kadai? Throw in a few mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and a pinch of jeera (if you like the taste, that is. Please do not overdo the jeera, it stands out in the whole preparation) into the oil. Chop the onions or shallots, add them to this, and saute. When you reach the stage where you get giddy with the aroma, add the red chillis.(We usually tear them in two with our hands, but Confused has a tendency to then rub eyes with the same fingers, so we are not really advising you to do the tearing, pun fully intended). At this stage, we feel compelled to warn you good people that the red chillis are quite the spiteful creatures -- we suppose being left out in the hot Indian sun to that long can do that to the best of us. They tend to splutter, and explode and do all sorts of violent things once added to the hot oil. We encourage you get hold of an industrial welding mask (you could always sneak it out of your friendly neighbourhood mechanic's back, but return it to him/her after use though. Those things probably have emotional, and not to mention monetary value attached). Or if such a mask is not available, you need to make do with what the boring people do -- lower the flame, and gently toss the chillis from a reasonably safe distance. And then use a longish spatula/spoon to stir it a few times, till it lightly changes colour. Toss in the curry leaves before the chillis turn black, and remove from stove (In this age of induction cook tops and such like, we think the word "fire" might be inadequate).

While this is happening, or has happened, depending on how many cooks there are, beat the curd thoroughly, without adding any water to it, till it becomes this amazingly creamy beautifully flowing mesmerizing version of, well, beaten curd. Add this to the boiled mango mixture, along with some more thick coconut milk, and mix. Heat for just a bit longer on low, low flame/temperature, as we do not want curdled curry.

Once the flavours are all mixed correctly, and you can taste the sweetness of the mango combined with the tarty yumminess of curd (one of us is a big fan of curd, as you might have surmised), and the exoticness (or is it exoticity?) of coconut milk, add the 'tadka' (that would be mustard-jerra-chilli thing that you did not burn, for the non-hindi understanding amongst our readers) waiting in the kadai.

Voila, you have mastered one of those things that a mango loving person will be proud of creating. Dress it up a bit, and you have a winner on your lovely hands, ladies and gentlemen. Serve hot with rice and a bit of mango pickle and pappadom.

Clockwork Orange.
Yes, thou suspecteth right. That IS the worst pun since Orangutan (which is not a pun at all)

With exciting, and completely false promises of being more regular with posting, we shall take off. Will you forgive us if we skip the usual sign off line here?