Raw Papaya Curry | Kapalangya Moru Curry From Diva Green

Why juice and smoothie papayas when you can curry them? I like using nouns as verbs now.
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This one’s also from Ritu Dalmia’s Diva Green, which is fast finding a place in my heart and on my shelf as “favourite cookbook.” The mix of recipes is great- from Indian to Italian and Asian- and I feel you can please any palate with the recipes in this book. And there are enough dessert recipes in there too ūüėÄ

Papaya curry is not new to me- my grandmom has been making ¬†the same thing for years now. Kapalangya moru curry… but for the uninitiated, it shall be called raw papaya curry. This recipe comes from Ritu Dalmia’s friend Prima Kurian, who is a home caterer. When it comes to food from home, I usually just call my mother, grandmother or mother in law and ask them how to prepare it- I don’t usually read a recipe. But with this one, I¬†followed it to the T, just to see how it would differ from the versions I’d been making so far.

Turns out, with the addition of¬†2 ingredients,¬†the curry transformed.¬†It hadn’t struck me before, but the version my grandmother makes is¬†saatvik: without garlic /onions in the body and tempering. Not that we follow a saatvik diet, I guess it’s just how¬†she preferred it.

But¬†the garlic and¬†tempered shallots add a lovely pungency¬†to the curry- something I missed from my grandmom’s no onions, no garlic version. It’s amazing how 2 gloves of garlic can transform a dish! (The only change I made was to use only coconut oil for the temper, as opposed to coconut oil + vegetable oil.)

RAW PAPAYA CURRY (Kapalangya Moru Curry) from Diva Green

For The Curry

  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 cup¬†raw papaya, skinned with seeds removed
  • 3/4 cup yoghurt
  • Salt to taste

The Tempering

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 dry red chillies
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek (methi) seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (jeera)¬†
  • 2-3 tablespoons sliced shallots
  • A handful of curry leaves

METHOD

  • In a blender, make a fine paste of the grated¬†coconut, garlic, turmeric and green chillies. Add a few spoons of water if you need to.
  • Add the paste to the yogurt and whisk so everything is well combined.
  • Steam the papaya or cook it in water till tender but firm.
  • Add the papaya to the yogurt mix and cook this over low¬†heat for 10 minutes, till the papaya is cooked through, stirring continuously so the curry¬†doesn’t curdle. Pull off heat.
  • In a small frying pan, heat the coconut oil. Add the dry red chillies, the mustard, fenugreek, cumin, sliced shallots and curry leaves and allow everything to sputter.
  • Pour this temper over the curry and serve.

Diva Green’s Pumpkin & Coconut Soup

I am having a little affair with vegetarian food. Over¬†the last 6 months, I’ve been losing interest in meat and poultry. Seafood I’m still pretty excited by, but for some reason, when there is meat¬†or chicken on the table, I have scant portions or none at all. I’m much happier when a meal is vegetarian. In the kitchen, I’ve been deviating from the standard dal-roti-sabzi and rice+sambar+thoran routine and making stuff that is out of my comfort zone, keeping¬†vegetables at the center of the plate. And I must credit this flurry of vegetarian cooking to Ritu Dalmia’s cookbook, Diva Green.

I know, I know what you are going to tell me- Ottolenghi’s books are a must-have for anyone who is interested in vegetarian cooking. And I’m going to get one soon, I promise. (Ummm…which one first? Ottolenghi, Jerusalem or Plenty?)

image courtesy | thecityguide.in

image courtesy | thecityguide.in

Anyhow, I came across Diva Green¬†while I was rabbit-holing through cookbooks on Amazon. I enjoy Ritu Dalmia’s TV shows and her cooking style, but I was not sure whether to pick it up. Plus, Amazon didn’t have a preview for the book, so I couldn’t even browse inside. I added the book to my wishlist and let it be. Then I found a copy at Landmark bookstore, and I sat down with¬†it. The book opened onto a recipe for Burmese Tomato Salad as I placed it in my lap- and I was hooked. I just fell in love with the diversity- Italian and Vietnamese; dishes¬†from Kerala and Karnataka; ¬†desserts ranging from baked¬†cheesecake¬†to Bavarian¬†knodel.

I’ve cooked many¬†recipes¬†from this book, and each one of them has been a success. I tweaked a little here and there, substituting some ingredients, but overall, this is ¬†a neat cookbook with a wide range of recipes. Familiar dishes like kadi and desi potato fry get a refined flavour-boost thanks to her techniques, and you may discover some¬†dishes you hadn’t heard of before, like Burmese Tomato Salad and Plecing Kankung (spinach with sambal.)

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The one I’m sharing today is a Vietnamese soup, made with pumpkin and coconut milk. It’s rich and creamy without being heavy,¬†and pretty healthy too! I’ve tried my hand at pumpkin soup before, and¬†it came out slightly bland¬†and¬†a little too rich,¬†thanks to cream taking the place of coconut milk.¬†In this soup, the seasoning is uncomplicated- just salt and pepper- but the boiled peanuts add a distinct Southeast Asian flavour, and ¬†make it more fun to eat, too. (Plus: protein!)

Ritu Dalmia's pumpkin and coconut soup

Ritu Dalmia’s pumpkin and coconut soup

This is a simple soup recipe that is low on effort and ingredients required, but high on flavour.

PUMPKIN & COCONUT SOUP (From Diva Green)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kilogram pumpkin, de-seeded, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup shelled peanuts
  • 25 ml olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper to season

METHOD

  • Parboil the pumpkin in salted water till tender. Drain and set aside. Keep the water¬†to be used later in the soup.
  • In another¬†pot, boil the peanuts in salted water till tender. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large pan, heat the olive oil. Add the bay leaf, onions and garlic and sautee for a few minutes.
  • Add the partially cooked pumpkin pieces and¬†cook for a few minutes. Then add half the boiled peanuts.
  • Next, take the bayleaf out of the pan and discard.
  • Puree¬†the pumpkin+onion+garlic+peanut mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
  • Pour this mixture into a large pot, add the coconut milk, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat. Add as much of the pumpkin water as needed to¬†give it a soupy consistency.
  • Add the remaining boiled peanuts.
  • Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve!