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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

For those who will be fasting for the Ram Nawmi period right till Hanuman Jayanti, life will be tough if you do not have enough veg recipes that you can create a wholesome menu from by some kind of permutation and combination. Turning to vegetarianism is not that difficult, veg dishes are after all cheaper and quicker to prepare as well as being a good source of proteins and vitamins. Teokon or tofu has gained much popularity in today’s local cuisine. Made from soya milk, it is an excellent food from a nutritional and health perspective, with significant proportions of proteins, essential amino acids, iron, calcium and minerals. Cooked in light tomato sauce inspired by the authentic Mauritian-style rougaille, teokon can be enjoyed as a side dish along with curry, pickles and farata or plain rice.

ROUGAILLE TEOKON

Ingredients:

150g teokon, cut into 1″ cubes

100g sweet corn kernels

1 medium onion, sliced

1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste

1 sprig fresh thyme leaves

1 large can tomato puree

2-3 fresh tomatoes, chopped

1-2 green chilies, thinly sliced

1 small bunch spring onions

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large frying pan and stir fry the teokon cubes until they turn golden.

  • Once done, drain the teokon from the oil and in the same pan, stir fry the sliced onion until translucent.

  • Add ginger-garlic paste and thyme, cook for one minute until fragrant. Add tomato puree and fresh ones.

  • Cover pan and cook over medium heat for about 10 to 12 minutes till it looses the smell of raw tomatoes.

  • Now add the fried teokon cubes along with corn kernels and let simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes.

  • Throw in chopped green chilies last and add a bit of water if the consistency of the rougaille is too thick.

  • Add salt and pepper to taste and give it a last stir before sprinkling with chopped spring onions to serve.

Rougaille Teokon

On our tropical island, we grow plenty of local fruits like mangoes, litchis and guavas which are unfortunately seasonal ones. The only reliable, all-year-round fruit is the banana which has multiple usages in our present day cuisine. The banana may be eaten ripe or unripe, whole or mashed, raw or cooked and added to various sweet or savoury preparations. Known to be a rich source of potassium, it packs several health benefits and along with the flesh, the peel and young shoots may also be used as ingredients. Nowadays, the more common form of banana curry served as part of the traditional sept carris/ seven curries at wedding and prayer ceremonies is the Carri Banane Râpée. It makes a great side dish if you are planning to entertain with an Indian meal at home and looks even better if you manage to serve it on fresh banana leaves.

CARRI BANANE RAPEE

Ingredients:

10-12 unripe bananas

1 large onion, chopped

1 tablespoon masala powder

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon garlic paste

1 large tomato, chopped

1 teaspoon table salt

1 bunch cilantro leaves

1 bunch spring onions

Few curry leaves/carri poulé

1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Method:

  • In a large pan, place unripe bananas and fill with water until bananas are completely covered. Bring to the boil over low heat.

  • After about 15-20 minutes, the skin of the bananas will darken and start to split. Remove from heat and drain excess water.

  • Leave to cool to room temperature before proceeding further. Once they are cooled, peel the bananas and discard the skin.

  • With a knife, scrape off a thin layer from the peeled bananas so that they do not have any residual fibers sticking to them.

  • Coarsely grate the bananas with a box grater and set aside. Heat oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add onion and fry lightly.

  • Add the spices and toast them until fragrant, then add tomatoes, garlic paste and curry leaves and cook for about 1 minute.

  • Next add grated bananas and carefully fold into spice mixture until coated and evenly yellow. Do not add water at any point.

  • Season with salt to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro and spring onions before serving. Best served warm with faratas.

Carri Banane Râpée

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