Tuesday, December 04, 2012

A Bizarre Little Curry

Offbeat, eccentric curries keep our palettes on point and our minds open. Cafe Drake remains forever humbled by the sheer breadth of India's vast culinary landscapes. Chances are you won't be stumbling across this bold side dish any time soon at your local curry house so may we suggest you make it at home. Tonight or tomorrow. 

DAIKON (a/k/a MOOLI a/k/a WHITE RADISH) CURRY

Pairs well with bean and rich meat entrees alike and Cafe Drake thought it a fine accompaniment to saag paneer. Great with basmati rice and even better with an Indian flat bread such as roti or chapati. If you can't find daikon (available now in virtually all supermarkets across the country) you might try substituting an equal amount of red radishes? Either way you'll need about 1 pound of radishes.

Peel 2-3 medium-size daikon and dice. Discard both ends of the radish.

Heat 2 T. vegetable oil (canola, sunflower or grape seed - we use the latter) over medium-high heat and sprinkle in: 6 whole cloves, 3-4 dried red chilies torn into pieces and 2 cinnamon sticks. Cook until they sizzle and release a sweet aroma before adding the radishes. 

Immediately lower the heat to medium and stir-fry the daikon for a couple of minutes. Cover the pan and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring only occasionally. Refrain from adding any water unless absolutely necessary; the daikon should release enough moisture to prevent burning or sticking if stirred now and then.

When the daikon is cooked (after 20 minutes) stir in: 1 t. sugar, 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. tamarind paste or concentrate. Taste for seasoning and add more sugar if the dish is too bitter for your liking.

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