Nariyal Chutney (Coconut Chutney)

I had tried on many occassions to perfect my coconut chutney but was never satisfied with the result. It really wasn’t that bad or unedible but just not as delicious as I had hoped. Then a few years back I inherited a recipe from my friend Sammi’s late grandmother Yenktamma Naidu. Everyone fondly knew her as Awa. Coming from a South Indian I felt like I had been handed a family heirloom and felt mighty proud.😊Since then I have been making my coconut chutney Awa’s way. I will forever be indebted to her for passing her recipe to me. God bless her soul.

Recently I was reminiscing and went straight back into my Fiji flashback.💭It was the weekend, Saturday to be precise, a day I knew I will be allowed to catch up with my school mates and go and show off my “mufti day” clothes. I loved not having to wear my school uniform and letting my hair out which was a change from having to coconut oil it to plait it with ribbons. I wore my best outfit and waited for my friends to turn up so we could just hang out and do a full round walk of our small city. We made sure we walked slowly (not much choice in the heat) so it would take the max time to cover from one end to the other. Yes, that was our Lautoka city small and cute. Then after lunch we would stroll to Marine Drive harbour and sit and watch the ships sail by and throw rocks into the sea.

Most of our weekends were spent watching any and every Bollywood movies at the cinemas. Even better when your parents owned one. It was free VIP entries for us. My parents always knew where to find my missing siblings and I….hiding in the cinema which was our second home. We would snack on fried peas, bhuja mixes and sip soft drink. Soft drinks were luxury items to have those days so you can imagine how much I looked forward to enjoying each sip followed by a burp or two. The downside was watching the actors feeding themselves on screen which made us all more hungry. As soon as it was intermission men darted towards the loo or outside to kill their lungs. Women and children made a quick dash to the takeaway shop to buy hot mutton pies and fish and chips. I would love to hear everyone sigh whenever there was a climax scene and say “saaa” (for ahhh or ohhh) or in sad scenes everyone of them in unison will begin to “tch! tch! tch!” (for awww nooo you poor thing) or in fight sequence there will be a very loud Oilei!! (for what I belive is maybe OMG!). And if the movie stopped or the reel finished in the middle of the most exciting scene of a son reuniting with his mum then itll be a mild hurl of abuses like “oyye operator kani kani” (basically meant operator wake up from your Kava induced sleep). Oh! how I miss all that.

As much as I loved watching movies I absolutely hated the cinema halls. I could never relax once the lights turned off. No, not out of fear from being kicked by smelly tinea ridden feet from behind but from far more dangerous things. The “thing”…the thing that petrified me..the thing that could make your skin crawl…the thing that was brown and had antennaes….yucky and gross cockroaches!!!! And those “malteser suckers” could fly I tell ya! Yikesss I could just die.😱I as an adolescent was traumatised by those evil pests. Anyways I managed to survive to see many more movies and finally when I discovered the cinemas in Australia I was cured…aaaah!

Getting to the point…so as soon as it was Saturday I knew mum will be going to the markets to buy some vegies and freshly cooked Idlis and coconut chutney. I always looked forward to that and it wasn’t often the vendors at the markets sold it. I will never forget how delicious the chutney was. I was recently craving it badly so I decided to make a few in experimental batches and see if I could replicate the taste. Finally I think I did it!! I believe I was very close to it. This chutney is my experimental version inspired by Late Awa’s original recipe with a slight twist.

As you all know I cook the lazy way so I’ve used frozen shredded coconut. I have tried many frozen brands but Vadilal’s is by far the best. Obviously you can’t compromise on the fresh taste of grated coconut but this brand comes quite close to it. It’s moist and fluffy in texture and smells heavenly. Hailing from the tropics I happen to know my coconuts (no pun intended😁). A few years back I did it the old fashioned way by placing the coconut grater (shaped somewhat like a cricket bat with prongs attached to it) on a chair with my butt firmly on it and grate away. This chutney is for those lazy cooks who wants something quick because they’de rather be spending time with their family or enjoying “tutti frutti”.😉

This recipe is a special request by a reader and a friend. Roberta Movick this ones for you. Roberta and I met through a Facebook group called Mai Kana whose creator is Dom Sansom. It’s a group where people can discuss, share recipes and showcase images of their scrumptuous and delicious Fijian cuisines. If you’re curious to learn about our food and meet other Fijians this is the place to be. Meet the friendly people of Fiji located from all over the world in one place..oh and of course I, the friendliest one, is there too hehe.😁 If you happen to be on Facebook here’s the direct link https://facebook.com/groups/maikana/ its a closed group so once you send request to join Dom Sansom will open up the doors for you. So see you there!!

Ingredients
2 Cups Frozen Shredded Coconut (I have used Vadilal Brand)
1 Tablespoon Tamarind Pulp
1 Small Garlic Clove
1/2 Medium Sized Onion
5-6 Small Red Chillies (adjust to suit level of hotness)
5-6 Curry Leaves
Salt To Taste
Oil For Tempering

Method
• In a bowl of hot water (about a 1/4 cup) soak tamarind pulp. Set aside for water to cool down.
• Once cooled squeeze the pulp with fingers to release flavour into the infused water? Discard squeezed pulp. Set the paste aside.
• Chop onions, garlic and chillies finely.
• Heat oil in a non-stick frypan.
• Throw in the garlic, chillies, onions and saute till translucent.
• Now add curry leaves, shredded defrosted/thawed coconut and salt and cook till lightly browned.
• Set aside to cool and throw it all into the food processor with the tamarind liquid paste.
• If chutney is too dry to grind add a little bit more water to ensure it turns out moist and fine.

This dish is best served as sides with Idlis and Dosas.

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Writing Process Blog Tour

20140702-234621-85581430.jpgFirst I would like to mention today marks my one year anniversary since I began blogging. Shockers!! I couldn’t believe it when I got a notification from wordpress (at least WP is better than my DH in remembering anniversaries hehe) Really? One year eh? How time flies.I don’t know how long I can hold this fort for..I mean eventually I’ll run out of my recipes then my blog will die a slow death.😔 Anyone has any ideas how to keep this going so my blog lives to see many more anniversaries? Oh! and feel free to congratulate me while you throw your suggestions in.😁

Secondly it’s news I just had to share. I’m now a Porn star!! A food porn star you sillies lol bet you had your minds thinking them crazy thoughts hehehe.😁The big food porn sites like Tastespotting, Foodgawker and Foodspreading accepted and published my clicks and recipe. Some people might feel it’s no big deal but it is for me. I believe I’m the only Indo-Fijian blogger to have had my recipe/food image published considering the fact how difficult it is to be accepted by these sites. I’ve received a lot of positive and encouraging feedback from my Fijian readers and I feel I’m doing us proud by promoting our cuisine.

Moving along to what this post is actually all about..I recently received invitations by Ahila of A Taste Of Sri Lankan Cuisine and Aiswariya of My Kitchen Moments to participate in My Writing Process Blog Tour. Unfortunately due to prior commitments I wasn’t able to participate earlier. I felt heavy hearted when I had to decline my lovely friends😔..but hey! que sera sera! (🎶jo bhi ho so ho🎶). I was meant to do this so it came right back at me. I hate missing out on all this fun and important stuff where I get to “expose” myself to you and support my fellow bloggers at the same time.

Shruti of Cooking Diary By Shruti ended up locking me in with this deal too cool to refuse. Shruti who I affectionately call my “eggless” princess is a passionate baker and has an awesome blog which features most of her delicious home baked goodies. Her speciality is eggless baking which is what lead me to her blog because of my daughters allergies. I was pleased to find all the egg friendly goodies in there. If you have’nt yet discovered her blog then do check it out now! Com’n scoot! 😉

Here’s the writing process blog tour explained in Shruti’s words. “A Blog Tour basically is a way to help your readers understand your view on the blog. The blogger who invites you to the writing process answers questions about their blog and asks you to do the same.” This cycle will continue as I nominate three other very special bloggers for the writing process tour.

Thank you Shruti for inviting me to take part in this tour. 😊

The questions asked are as follows:

1. What am I working on?

I’m currently working on enticing some of my readers out there to do guest posts for my blog. These are people who are non-bloggers but avid foodies who haven’t had a chance to showcase their talents.They are people from my cultural community who can whip up delicious native and Indo-Fijian lip-smacking gobs. I believe their recipes will be greatly appreciated as it’s unique to the Fijian culture. This will in turn give my daughter (and readers) a chance to learn about the wonderful delicious recipes of the country where my roots lie. I’m hoping it works out so wish me luck.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Ahh! now I don’t feel it differs in a large scale because we all are serious foodies here right? The only difference is that my recipes origins are from the Fiji Islands. My blog mainly features Indo-Fijian recipes most of which are curries and stir-fries. However some recipes you will find are contributions by my Delhite in-laws.😊

In every Indo- Fijian household tradition most of us as young girls are taught the skills of cooking by our mothers by the age of 10. Actually we are literally threatened by our mothers with a rolling pin in these exact words “if you don’t learn how to cook then no boy will ever marry you and you will end up with an evil mother-in-law and sent to live in the farms!!!!!”. How ironic is that lol. How will I end up with an evil MIL if I’m never going to find a boy to marry. What does farms have to do with all this anyways? 😫 I just never got the rest of it except the “marry” and “boy” bit lol. However, I’m really glad mum got me cooking by hook or crook because it all kind of came in handy when I lived away from home and got married. Luckily I didn’t end up with the evil mother-in-law.😉Something else a little different about my blog is that it contains stories of somewhat little nutty and crazy situations of my life which to me are just utter nonsense but for you may be entertainment..entertainment..entertainment! You may notice I hardly talk much about the food I cook..it’s like “let’s just cut the crap but not cut the crap”.

The work on my blog is also my venting space from the pent up frustrations of living life in chronic pain. It’s my way of fighting and dealing with the negative thoughts in my head and turning it into a positive one. I can’t believe how therapeutical it’s been for me and no matter how much pain I’m in I shall continue to write. I don’t know what all I’ve just said above but aahh! it felt good..like a huge child lifted off my chest literally!!

3. How does your writing process work?

My writing process? Hmmm..well I’m a really slow writer. My posts can take me anywhere from weeks to months to compose. I try not to overdo it due to the problems with my hands and arms so I write in bits and pieces. I consider myself a writer who basically enjoys putting her gibberish thoughts down into words. I also try to squeeze in my crazy sense of humour as a bonus (steak knives anyone? 😁). I don’t as such go out of my way to cook anything special to put on my blog. What you see is my daily home cooked food. After I’m done cooking then it’s benchtop modelling and the clicks. Now where do I get time to write with a super hyper three year old? It’s while my precious is busy gorging choc and cookies in the land of nod. That’s my time..my chillax time.

I am a Desi/Indian TV serial addict. I multi-task and write as I watch my saas-bahu serials and learning how to be a wicked daughter-in-law at the same time (just kidding mummyji). Overall I’m a crazy writer. I write “kuch bhi…bass sab chalta hai” (whatever..just anything will do). I really struggle to write intense stuff with a straight face. Humorous situations in my thoughts are instantly animated and these animations inspire me. Honestly I have totally surprised myself. I had no idea that whatever I was writing will be liked and appreciated by so many readers. Thanks to all of my readers for your encouragement, likes, comments and support. 😘

4. Why do I write what I do?

This is an intense straight from my heart stuff so let me straighten my expression and feeeeel. My blog, my writing and my recipes are all for my daughter. I wish to leave this behind for her as a legacy and who knows maybe one day she may decide to carry this journey forward. I also write so she understands what her mum is/was really like from inside and not what she portrays/ed from outside. I write because I’m head, liver, guts and heels over in love with her..my angel who brings out the smiles and best in me. 😘

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My super active munchkins Mishka on the run….bhaag Mishka bhaag! (run Mishka run)

My Torch Bearers – a must to check out if you’re after good food and humour.

I love to read every post I follow whenever I get a little “me” time. Out of all those special few that I do are three of my favourites whose posts I read without a miss simply because they always make me smile and laugh out loud 😆(non-stop lolling I tell ya). I now nominate these three wonderful and fun loving people who are hilarious and totally gorgeous inside out and maybe even a little eccentric.😉 I personally would love to know more about them so I nominate them for this writing process blog tour and to continue it forward. Thanks for agreeing to participate guys and my humble apologies to those that couldn’t due to time constraints.

Aneela of The Odd Pantry – Aneela “loves to cook odd cuisines with odd ingredients using odd methods”. I believe she’s truly extra-”odd”-nary.😉I absolutely adore her witty sense of humour and the uniqueness of her recipes.

Dana of I’ve Got Cake – Dana (my homey) Fashina..how cool is that name? Dana is a combo deal of a foodie and a fashionista. She is someone who not only cooks hot but looks hot too and that girl can make you laugh till you cry. She’s just gorgeous! (why do I feel like I’m doing a matrimonial ad here lol)

Gary of Foodisthebestshitever – I recently discovered Gary through Dana. He is a fellow Aussie blogger like me who has me in splits everytime I read his posts. Gary has an awesome blog with great food and entertaining stories…aussie aussie aussie oye oye oye!

I’ll finish this off with two bollywood movie songs which are my favourites and makes me want to shake a leg or two. This is inspired by my blogger buddy Ahila.

Tinned Machri Tarkari (Canned Fish Curry)

It’s been a while since I posted a non-veg recipe so today it’s fish on the menu. Anyways welcome to my post dedicated to my work. Another day another bakwaas (nonsense). Would you believe this took me over a month to write (yep! I type with my stylus at a snails pace) and a post which is full of emoticons today. Some of you might miss seeing the emoticons depending on the source you’re using to read this. In that case – tough luck you miss out lol 😜. Words come to life with expressions and I’m in the mood to be emoticon-pressive. Lets get on with it shall we?

I have a typical 9-5 government job although currently I work part-time. You know I actually look forward to going to work. It’s not like I’m doing something related to fun or of interest but it brings in the dough. I look forward to sitting my derriere on my ergo chair (with a special hidden hole cutout..you would think its a commode🚽kum chair hehehe😁). I enjoy looking into a massive monitor 💻 (I compose my posts at home on my ipad/iphone) using a special ergo keyboard carved out for a bodybuilders upper torso (just picture Salman Khans and you will know what I mean😉).

Now it’s not like I’m being deprived of these luxuries at home but when you’re running (in my case hobbling) after a little one there’s no time to peruse these items at leisure. I turn upto work like I’m on a holiday (I’m so asking for trouble if anyone at work reads this😳). All I’m left to do now is dress the part in a brightly coloured hawaian dress, a tropical flower🌺tucked into my hair and donning a pair of thongs. I love to listen to my bollywood dhoom dhadaka music on my ipod🎧whilst my fingers touch away on the keyboard. It (music) gives me an adrelanin rush…like seriously guys!!!

When work accommodated my workstation to suit my physical health needs I felt special. I mean let’s face it..it’s hard to accept that you are a special needs person especially when you think you’re delusionally slim, fit and fine and still 20 from inside lol..who am I kidding! There’s plenty much more happening inside me but that’s for me to know and you to find out.

I happen to work with some great characters two of whom inspire me to write crazy. I didn’t want to name them so as to protect their identities (why give them free royalty eh) then I felt the truth should be revealed to the world although I don’t know if my job will be safe after this…that’s another story. I will find out when I turn upto work next week.😳

My colleagues Sandra and Warren have the craziest sense of humour. They’re always bagging each other or other innocent victims like me. 😉The wonderful thing about us Australians is that we have the ability to laugh at ourselves. Most of us have instilled in us great witty wicked sense of humours. I love to join in with the fun when I can but I’ve been told I’m the instigator…who me???? 😇 Excuse me!!! innocent till proven guilty thank you very much😏..case dismissed!!

Let me start with perpetrater no.1 Warren (I’m of course the innocent victim here😟) who we have on many occassions teased (rather bullied) for not being with the times due to the fact that he has an old fashioned cell phone. We kept pushing him to upgrade to a smartphone. One day he surprised us and told us he finally got himself a new phone. We all jumped up and gathered around his desk to check it out and there he was with a hi-tech smartphone which he proudly demonstrated to us. It had awesome ring tones, music, song player and what not. I turned green with envy. My iphone appeared pale in comparision to his gadget. We all bowed🙇down before Warren who came out the winner with his sons wonderful toy📱phone. I vowed I will get my daughter the same one. We now love and respect Warrens “smartphone” which sits on his desk as a prized possession and we will never tease/bully him ever again.

Breaking news!!! Chain se sona hai toh jaag jao! (Hinglish translation – if you want to sleep peacefully then wake up!) these culprits are still out there on the loose. A very handsome and hot bounced cheque reward for you for turning them in.

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On your left is Sandra half asleep..she was caught off guard when I snapped her photo at a meeting. On your right is Warren daydreaming finding lots of excuses for a lot of things which cannot be mentioned in here. Circled – is it a ghost? (I sense many of you will be tempted to zoom in for a closer look like I would lol) I think it’s the victims reflection…it’s me!!!

Moving along to perpetrator no. 2 Sandra. Recently I found out that she has a major pet peeve – she absolutely hates whistling especially those long ladidah 😙🎶types so to annoy her I tried to perfect my whistling skills but with no luck. Half way through my attempt I thought surely there must be an easier way. Being the net savvy geek that I am I brainstormed and finally (click💡) an idea struck in my evil brain muhahaha! 👹

One fine dandy morning Sandra literally drags herself into work and just as she sits her grumpy😠self down at her desk she hears whistling. I could just see her turning red😡with rage. I sit back and watch with immense pleasure to see her suffering (just so you know I’m really not a meanie but their traits sometimes rub off on me hehehe😬). She tries desperately to find the source and evil eye the culprit for being an annoyance but with no luck. She then turned around and eyed me suspiciously so I decided before she sues me for harassment it’s best to own up. I gave her the Tom & Jerry🐭🔫🐱flashback narrative and told her how in the end I found an app that does the whistling for me. OMG! the look on her face was just priceless!!!! 😊

Luckily they only have to tolerate me for two days a week. On a serious note though I’m glad I work with colleagues like Sandra and Warren who make work a little bit of fun the days I am there. Thank you guys! Please don’t stop harassing me. 😘

Getting onto todays recipe which is a popular canned fish the all Fiji famous brand 777 Mackerel. We love this fish with a passion (at least here in Australia we do). We scour the Indian grocers for this particular brand. It is absolutely yummy and trust me we Fijians are fussy when it comes to our “tin machris” or canned fish. Ask any Fijian they will tell you “buy 777 tin machri ek dum zulum re!”(It’s the best) “arre don’t buy anything else sab bekaar (rest not good)”. So here it is Fiji’s favourite tin machri recipe. This one’s for my niece Nandini who drools 😋at the very sight of this canned fish at the Indian grocers in the US and wishes she could just pounce on it. My advice to her – buy that Machri and get that outdoor Chulha (stove) happening. Happy cooking and a happy wedding anniversary to you.😘

Ingredients
1 425g Can 777 Brand Mackerel With Tomato Sauce
1 Onion
2-3 Garlic Cloves
1 Inch Piece Ginger
2-3 Methi/Fenugreek Seeds
A Ver Tiny Pinch Of Jerra/Cumin Seeds
A Very Tiny Pinch Of Sarso/Mustard Seeds
5-6 Curry Leaves
1/4 Tspn Haldi/Tumeric
2-3 Fresh Chillies
1 Level Tspn Garam Masala
2-3 Tbspn oil
Salt To Taste

Method
• Clean the Mackerel by breaking gently and deboning. As per my mum’s instructions I scrape out the scaly bits as well as the brown bits between the edges. Apparently it gets rid of the “bisain” or the off fishy fish taste (whatever that means I just follow mum). Be gentle enough not to mash it up when cleaning.
• Slice onion lengthwise
• Crush garlic and ginger
• Heat oil in a pan and add sarso, jeera and methi and lightly brown for a second or two.
• Now add onions along with ginger, garlic, chillies and curry leaves.
• Saute your onions until translucent and the raw smell of garlic and ginger has gone. Turn the heat low then add the dry spices haldi and garam masala and add 2 tbspn of warm water and fry for couple of seconds until the oil separates and floats up.
• Now add the Mackerel and simmer on low heat setting for 10-15 minutes. Be careful when stirring to keep the pieces from being mashed up.
• Finally garnish with dhaniya/coriander and a squeeze or two of lemon juice.

Tip – If you end up with 777 Mackerel without tomato sauce but in oil cook in a similar way but just add two finely chopped fresh tomatoes after the onions are done. Cook until tomatoes are soft and mushy then add all other ingredients and just follow the same process. In a rush once I bought the Mackerel in oil instead and thought “how the hell am I going to cook this now”. I was hesitant to eat the one with no tomato sauce flavour (its just what you get used to eating) but it actually ended up quite delicious with the addition of fresh tomatoes.

This dish is best served with Roti/Chapati.

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Rava Kesari (Semolina Dessert) – Guest Post By Aruna Panangipally Of Aahaaram

If you read my previous posts you would have met Aruna Panangipally of Aharaam. When she asked me to do a guest blog post for her for Aloo Boda Tarkari I asked her if she would do one for me as well. She provided to me a list of wonderful desserts to choose from but I requested she do Rava Kesari for me. Aruna being a complete sweetheart obliged and set to work to do this sweet dish for me. Now that’s special right guys? I wanted Aruna’s sweet dish to be my birthday special recipe and me being the cheeky monkey that I am didn’t reveal that to her. Now that everyone knows you may wish me hehe. 😉

Thank you Aruna for agreeing to do my favourite Rava Kesari on this special occassion. For all of you wonderful readers out there if you’re after some amazing desserts and delicious vegetarian recipes head on over to http://aahaaram.wordpress.com. You will love Aruna’s blog (and that gorgeous smile of hers) as much as I do.

Over to you Aruna..

Indian cuisine abounds with desserts; some easy and some difficult. While Rava Kesari falls in the easy-to-make category, it also falls into the comfort food category. It can be whipped up in a jiffy but can satisfy a craving for sweets like few other desserts can.

The menu at most South Indian celebrations will include Rava Kesari as the dessert, especially for breakfast. You will also find it served as a part of tiffin at tea time.

Rava Kesari is also a dessert that is universally loved in India. Almost every region has its version of this dessert; North Indians call it Sooji ka Halwa, Maharashtrians calls it God Sheera (Tikhat Sheera = Upma), Kannadigas calls it Kesari Bhat…… But hey! A rose by any name and all that jazz.

The only essential difference between Sheera/Sooji ka Halwa and Rava Kesari is the Kesar colour (orange colour). Ideally, the Orange-ish colout should be from the Safrron. However, over the years food colour has started to play a part in imparting the colour because the colour makes the dish more attractive. Using just saffron will give the Rava Kesari just a pale orange-yellow colour. :-)

Time: 15 Minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients

1.Rava, Suji, or Semolina – 1 Cup
2. Sugar – 1 Cup
3. Water – 2 Cups
4. Ghee – 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
5. Cashew Nuts – 8 to 10
6. Green Cardamom – 4 or 5
7. Saffron Strands – A Large Pinch
8. Orange Food Colour – 3 or 4 drops

Method

1.Peel the cardamom pods and pound the seeds to a coarse powder.
2. To a heavy-bottomed vessel, add the sugar, water, and saffron.
3. Bring the water to a gentle simmer and let the sugar dissolve.
4. Turn off the heat when the sugar has dissolved.
5. Add the orange food colour and cardamom powder.
6. Mix well.
7. In a heavy-bottomed vessel, heat 2 tbsp ghee.
8. Split the cashews in half vertically and add to the ghee.
9. Stir-fry the cashews till they just start to turn brown.
10. Add the semolina and stir-fry for 5 to 7 minutes.
11. Turn the heat to low.
12.Slowly and while stirring constantly, add the sugar water to the sauteed semolina.
13. Mix well and ensure that there are no lumps.
14.Turn the heat to medium and cook till the water is absorbed and the
Rava Kesari starts to leave the edges. Stir every couple of minutes.
15. Turn off the heat and add 1 tsp of ghee.
16. Mix well and keep covered for 10 minutes.
17. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Aloo Boda Tarkari (Potato And Cow Peas Curry) – Guest Post For Aahaaram

I have been honoured to do a a guest blog post once again and today that special person is Aruna Panangipally of Aahaaram who I fondly call Ms Gorgeous Smile (she doesn’t know that…..yet😉). I have known Aruna since I first started blogging and have had lots of support and encouragement from her. She has given the kind of support a friend gives to another holding your hand and welcoming you in this blogging world with open arms. Yep! That’s Aruna for you an absolute sweetheart. 😘Recently we took a step further and chatted a little and got to know each other better. Aruna then asked me if I would be willing to do a guest blog post for her and I literally jumped at the chance. I mean how could I not? My fellow bloggers and readers when an experienced Masterchef level blogger requests a lazy blogger like me for a guest post you know you’re good hehehe. 😬

Thank you so much Aruna for giving me this chance, you rock!!! I hope your readers have enjoyed my recipe. While you (my special readers) are peeking in here please do check out Arunas awesome blog http://aahaaram.wordpress.com where you will find a delicious smorgasboard of vegetarian cuisines from regional India.

Today my recipe is all about the humble fresh cow peas or black eyed beans or Boda as we call it in Fiji. Although not an authentic native Fijian dish (as Aruna had requested) this dish is commonly cooked in the Fiji-Indian households. For many years this has also been favored by the natives who love their curries as much as we love their super delicious native dishes like Lovo and Pulsami. Hopefully I will master the art of cooking those as well one day (I’m working on it).

There are many colors and varieties of these peas which also happens to totally differ in taste. Put a few together and you feel like you’re being ogled at by beautiful kajal/kohl adorned eyes (me and my crazy imagination 😬hehe). Combine this with potatoes, eggplant and tomatoes and you get a delicious curry which goes hand in hand with roti or chapati. The variety I have used in todays recipe is light brown in color and my preferred choice. Alternatively I use the creamy colored ones which are also known as Lobia beans in India.

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photo credit: IITA Image Library via photopin cc

Ingredients
1 Cup Boda/Cow Peas/Black Eyed Beans
1-2 Medium Sized Potatoes (cubed into bite size)
1 Onion (sliced)
1/2 Eggplant (I have used the large dark purple variety)
1 Medium Sized Tomato
A Tiny Pinch Of Sarso/Mustard and Jeera/Cumin Seeds.
2-4 Methi/Fenugreek Seeds
2-3 Garlic Cloves (crushed)
1/4 Tspn Haldi/Tumeric
1 Tspn Garam Masala
1/4 Tspn Chilli Powder or Fresh Chillies (optional)
4-6 Curry Leaves
1-2 Tbspn Oil
Salt To Taste

Method
• Wash and soak the beans in water and set aside.
• Cut the eggplant into long and medium-thin slices, wash and soak.
• Peel, wash and cut potatoes into bite sized cubes and soak in water. Set aside.
• Meanwhile cut tomato in 4 pieces.
• Slice onions thinly and crush the garlic.
• Now heat oil in a pan and add sarso, jeera and methi. Allow it to splutter a little then add onions and garlic along with curry leaves.
• Saute the onions and garlic until its translucent and the raw smell of garlic has gone.
• Now add the dry spices – chillies, haldi and garam masala and stir for couple of minutes. Add a little warm water to get it paste like.
• Discard the water in which the eggplants, cow peas and potatoes were soaked and add them to the pan. Dry fry for 5 mins on low heat then add about a cup of warm water and cover.
• Let the curry simmer until the potatoes are half cooked (spoon break test required) then throw in your tomato pieces.
• Cover and cook until the potatoes are done. If you find the gravy is thin cook uncovered until the medium thick gravy consistency is reached.
• Finally garnish with chopped coriander/cilantro leaves.

This dish is best served with Roti/Chapati.

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