Curried gato pima or cari bari is often part of the menu for Indian weddings or prayers as part of the traditional 7caris. The fritters are cooked in a gravy thickened with split pea paste and flavored with cumin and turmeric. Typically served with lighter sides like rougaille and steamed vegetables such as pumpkin or chayote/chouchou to offset the pungent mix of spices, the dish can be enjoyed with hot puris and plain steamed rice alike. Though the long list of ingredients may look daunting at first sight, it is by far one of the best vegetarian dishes you need to be able to make on your own. The recipe is from my mom who must have got it while giving a helping hand to prepare food for wedding feasts. I have seen recipes of cari bari with fried aubergines but I have yet to give it a try, so let me know if you do.

CARI BARI

Ingredients:

1 batch homemade gato pima

1/2 cup gato pima paste, uncooked

1 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds

5 whole black peppercorns

1 small onion, chopped

5 garlic cloves, chopped

1 cm fresh ginger, chopped

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium red onion, sliced

2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves

cari poulé leaves/ curry leaves

1 small green chili, chopped

1 tablespoon turmeric powder

1 tablespoon fresh tamarind

1 small bunch coriander leaves

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

  • Prepare gato pima as per recipe instruction. Remember to set 1/2 cup uncooked gato pima paste aside.

  • The recipe should yield about 20-25 large gato pima. Drain well to remove any excess oil and set aside.

  • Next, start by preparing the spices for the curry. Dry roast the cumin seeds in a small pan till aromatic.

  • Grind them along with the peppercorns on a roche carri or in an electric grinder to get a fine powder.

  • Transfer powdered spices to a small bowl, next process the chopped onion, garlic and ginger together.

  • In a large, heavy-based sauce pan, heat oil and sauté the sliced onion until it turns slightly translucent.

  • Add the thyme leaves, cari poulé/curry leaves, green chili and sauté for another minute until fragrant.

  • Stir in turmeric along with 1 cup water, bring to the boil. Combine fresh tamarind with 1/2 cup water.

  • Discard tamarind seeds, add the pulp to the curry mixture. Then add the uncooked gato pima paste.

  • Cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes until it thickens slightly. Drop the fried reserved gato pima into it.

  • Season curry with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 1-2 minutes before turning the gas off.

  • Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve it with plain rice or farata. Makes 8 servings.

Cari Bari

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