For the longest, I have eaten only Pav bhaji in the fast food joints I often frequented. My friends would ask, "Aren't you supposed to get nauseated by now?", frankly i did't.
A few months back I visited Guru Kripa, Sion. But obviously I had Pav Bhaji. Right after the first bite, the taste had me reminiscing my childhood days. Was it the aroma, masala or my hunger, I still dont know. But that was it. I felt content and comforted.
And just like that, my need to frequent fast food joints especially for Pav Bhaji tapered off.
I realised 2 things.
- Mumbai street food has changed drastically. ( why, for good or bad, I leave it for later discussion)
- All this while unconsciously I was searching for 'a' particular taste that I had decades ago. It wasnt about what i want but my longing to taste something familiar
What childhood familiar food do you crave for?
For this post I am back with Camellia Panjabi's 'Watermelon Curry' from 50 Great curries of India . Watermelons are literally raining out here and i was searching for different ways in which I can consume it. The curry is spicy, tangy, hot exactly opposite of how this fruit tastes in its natural form.
This curry is quick, can be served hot or cold. It tastes really good with steam rice or as a side dish on its own. The longer you keep, the flavors get well absorbed. Only catch, if its kept out for too long, it get a bit watery with the juices from the fruit.
‘In the summer, temperatures in the arid desert region of Rajasthan exceed 100F and before foodstuffs from other regions were easily available, the Rajasthani had to rely on what was locally available. Watermelons were one of the few fruits available in the summer, and are used to make an interesting semi-dry curry.
The flavour should be hot, sweet and sour, hence the large amount of chilli powder - and Rajasthan chilli is pungent. You can substitute paprika, which is milder. Quite interesting to eat with rice, or as a side dish.’
Serves 2, or 4 as a side dish
1/4 large watermelon
1 1/2 teaspoons red chilli powder
a pinch of turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garlic puree
salt to taste
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
2-3 teaspoons lime or lemon juice
sugar to taste (optional)
1) Cut up the watermelon and remove the seeds, then peel. Take a slice to blend and make juice. Add the chilli, turmeric and coriander powders, garlic puree and salt, to taste. Chop the rest of the watermelon into 1 1/2 in/4cm cubes.
2) Heat the oil in a wok and add the cumin seeds and within 20 seconds add the juice. Lower the heat and simmer for five minutes or so, so that the spices cook completely and the liquid is reduced by a third. If using sugar, add it now, then add the lime or lemon juice and cook for one minute.
3) Add the chopped watermelon and cook over a low heat for 3-4 minutes, gently tossing it until all the pieces are covered in the spice mixture.