Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Great Foogath Experiment Goan warm, spicy salad

The winning foogath is on the lower part of the plate!
The Great Foogath Experiment  Goan Warm, spicy salad
My friend Jenny has been to India twice, where she has fallen madly in love with foogath.  I had never had it, so I googled it, and have found about a gazillion contradictory recipes, from which I have borrowed, stolen and invented this dish.  Apologies to my fellow bloggers from whom I may have stolen a few teaspoons of ideas!
You don’t need to use these exact vegetables; you can look about you and get a sense of what you’d like.  Jenny tells me that eggplant is often used, but I didn’t have any, so we went without that.

For the winning foogath, I used:

2 kale leaves, stalk removed and leaves cut into small pieces
1 ½ cups shredded red cabbage
1 carrot, sliced finely
2 to 3 cauliflower florets, chopped
2 stalks asparagus, cut into two inch pieces

Competing foogaths!
1 red onion, diced
½ fresh ginger, julienned
1 fresh garlic clove, chopped
1 Anaheim pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon virgin, cold pressed coconut oil
1 teaspoon dark mustard seed
1 teaspoon cumin seed
ten curry leaves

¼ cup raw cashews
juice of 1 lime
1/3 fresh coconut, scraped
a few cilantro leaves (optional)
salt to taste

Have the vegetables and coconut ready to go before you start cooking, because this goes fast, and you won’t have time to prepare while ingredients are cooking.
Put the pan on medium high heat, and when it’s hot, add the coconut oil.  When it seems hot, toss in a few mustard seeds.  When they start to sizzle and turn white, add the cumin seeds and let them  sizzle and then add the onion and ginger, stirring to cool down the pan, and lower the heat to medium. Cook for a few minutes, to caramelise them just a bit, then add the garlic, curry leaves and Anaheim pepper.  Let those cook for a minute or two, then add your toughest vegetable.  I added my kale at that point, then my cabbage and let that cook for about three minutes.  Then I added the cauliflower, carrot and asparagus.  The point isn’t to cook these through but to warm them up, so they are partially cooked, but still have some crunch to them.  The idea of keeping the enzymes alive is very appealing to me, as it increases the health benefits of the dish.  This shouldn’t take very long at all, maybe seven minutes or so.  Add the cashews, then the lime juice and stir well to coat all morsels.

My Goan coconut scraper! 
Serve on a pretty plate, sprinkling the coconut and perhaps a leaf or two of cilantro over top.  Because Jenny’s recipe (on paper and brought back from Goa) asked for a bottled masala,with no mention of what that might contain, we experimented by using a madras curry paste in one pot, but we felt it wasn’t necessary, and maybe even detracted from the more traditional foogath.
From what I learned, a foogath is a simple and quick dish that relies on just mustard seed, curry leaves and fresh coconut to make it the special recipe that it is.  I also gathered that this is usually served with rice or roti, but we felt the carbs were unnecessary.  I insisted on the raw cashews, my invention entirely, because I like to put some protein into every meal.  This little experiment was quite delicious, and if any of you out there can let us know what I really should have done, please let us know!

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