Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Today we had in Sheba Promod, expert in Indian cookery

Today we welcomed Sheba Promod to tell us all about the delights of Indian Fusion cuisine.  Fusion food is a general term for the combination of various forms of cookery and comes in several forms. Regional fusion combines different cuisines of a region or sub-region into a single eating experiencewhich involves the mixing of different ingredients.  This month's recipe was the tasy-sounding Avocado and Curry Leaf Chutney.  With a preparation time of 10-15 minutes, this is the perfect canape for those dinner parties and can be pre-prepared - make sure to add a splash of lemon juice though to keep it fresh!

Avocado & Curry Leaf chutney

Fully aware of the fact that these are not a fruit traditionally associated with anything remotely Indian, I strongly urge you try it once. Unknown to many, avocados do grow in the tropical climate of Kerala and are usually harvested in mid-July-August. My mother-in-law is blessed with an enormous avocado tree in her garden which appears to bear more of this delightfully buttery fruit that can be consumed in one season. A bulk of this garden harvest of usually graces the fruit bowls of many a fortunate neighbour, soon to be topped with a healthy measure of sugar prior to eating. This might seem particularly strange when they are more commonly known in their guise as guacamole.
This recipe does not have the usual luscious, sticky like characteristics of a so called ‘chutney’ and more to the point, it needs to be prepared as close to the serving time as possible due to the discolouring of the flesh. However, it can be made up to an hour or so before serving and as long as it is kept covered, the change in colour can be prevented. The lemon juice obviously helps to work its magic in this. I had added the urad dal as an optional ingredient here. By no means should you feel that the chutney will be incomplete in its flavour should you omit it; that’s far from the truth. However the urad dal gives an additional nuttiness and delightful crunch that is almost reminiscent of popping candy. With or without, both are addictive in equal measure.
The first time I made this, I slathered it on some hot toast as a light lunch but needless to say, this seems to combine gloriously with nearly everything that’s put to the test. The most recent favourite for me is topped on some sourdough crispbread which I served at a recent dinner party as a light canapĂ© prior a rather packed mains and I can tell you they were gone in a flash!

Whole spices
¾ tsp black mustard seeds
2 dried, whole red chillies

1 medium, ripe avocado
1 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
½ tsp urad dal (optional)
¼ medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
6-7 curry leaves
½ green chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsps fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp coarse black pepper

Heat the oil in a small pan and fry the mustard seeds, whole red chillies, curry leaves and urad dal if and fry for 5-10 seconds until the mustard seeds have popped. Add the onions and garlic fry on a low-medium heat for 8-10 minutes until they are soft and sweet; be careful not to brown them as this can result in a slightly bitter chutney.
Once fried, transfer the mixture to a large bowl and leave aside for a few minutes to cool. Once cooled, scoop out the avocado and add to the bowl along with the chopped coriander, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Using a fork, smash the avocado, ensuring that the fork runs through the rest of the contents in the bowl whilst you are doing this. This just helps to release the sweet and warming flavours of onions and mustard seeds
Serve immediately.

for more information about Sheba, her cookery courses and recipes go to

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