From Orissa, we are now traveling down to Pondicherry / Pondy or Pudhucherry as it is being called now. This state was the seat of the colonial powers like Dutch,Portuguese, English and French.
The city has many colonial structures and a very popular tourist destination.The four beaches, The Auroville Ashram, the age old churches, the Botanical gardens and the beautiful temples attracts crowds from India and abroad.
The Pondicherry cuisine has a lot of influences.It is a perfect blend of cultures and customs.The main characteristic is the French influence on the cuisine.Coconut and coconut milk, sea food are predominant in their cuisine.The influence of the neighboring states – Kerala, Tamil nadu and Andra can also be felt in their dishes.
In today’s post,the two dishes featured here makes use of coconut and coconut milk and are very flavorful.
Behind the scene:
I tried looking for recipes on the net and failed.So the next best thing to do is to buy a cookbook and that’s exactly what I did. I got the Pondicherry Cookbook!Much to my dismay, it had lots and lots of non veg recipes and very few veg recipes that were in the book were so similar to the ones you find in Tamil nadu. I did not want to make them and so started looking for recipes on line.
I landed on an article on The Hindu and I was truly saved. Though a little time consuming, it was totally worth the effort. It was a hit and I was really glad that everyone enjoyed the curry.
I am sure to make this different curry when we have guests and I am sure it will earn their praise.
The beans fugath is our regular beans stir fry known by a different name. The two dishes were served with steamed rice.
Adapted from here
For the spice mix/ Kootu thool:
Coriander seeds- 2 teaspoons
Black pepper- 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Fenugreek seeds- 1/4 teaspoon
Chana dal-1 teaspoon
Toor dal-1 teaspoon
White urad dal-1 teaspoon
For the paste:
Poppy seeds- 2 teaspoons
Cashew nuts- 10
Ingredients for the stuffing
Potato-2,peeled , boiled and roughly mashed
Green peas – a handful
Chili powder- 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Ingredients for the gravy:
Tender Snake gourd- 1
Whole spices- Bay leaf- 1, cloves-2, cinnamon-a small piece
Ginger garlic paste- 1 teaspoon
Red chili powder- 1 teaspoon
Lemon juice to taste
salt to taste
To make the coconut milk– 1/2 a coconut
Dry roast the spices for kootu thool [without oi],except turmeric powder .When cool , grind everything to a fine powder and keep aside. If there is a little excess after making this recipe, store in an airtight container and use later.
Make an extract of coconut milk.Keep the first extract separately.Mix the second and third extracts.
Grind the ingredients for the paste adding a little water and keep aside.
Cut the snake gourd into 2″ pieces and remove the core.
For the stuffing:
Heat oil in a pan and add the onion.Saute till it is translucent. Then add the potato , parboiled peas,chili powder and salt and mix well.Cook for 3-4 minutes till the raw smell of chili powder goes off.Stuff this into the snake gourd pieces and keep aside.
Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan and add the stuffed snake gourd pieces. Cover and cook on low heat till the side shrink and turn light brown. Turn them around once in a while carefully so the that the stuffing does not spill out.
For the gravy:
Heat a teaspoon of oil and the whole spices, ginger garlic paste and saute the onions till translucent.Add the rec chili powder and saute for a minute.Then add the tomatoes and cook till it is soft.
Add a little water if the mixture is too dry.Add the second and third coconut milk extract and mix well.Simmer.Then gently drop in the sauteed snake gourd pieces.
Mix the cashew- poppy paste with the first extract of coconut milk and add to the simmering mixture.Add salt and mix gently.Simmer for 20 minutes. Switch of flame and add lemon juice.Mix and serve.
Be sure to use tender snake gourd, else the vegetable will not taste good.
Beans fugath is the regular beans curry that we make at home.