Chow chow: it means different things to different people. In Bangalore, you get Chow Chow Bhat. It is a serving of upma and kesari on a plate and is immensely popular as a breakfast item at the numerous Darshinis across the city.
Chow chow is the other name for the Chayote Squash. Also known as Marokkai, Bengaloor Katrikkai or Vilayat Vaingan.
Chow chow to me means all of these and more. How much more? Read on and you'll find out.
This is also what it means to me: A mixed vegetable dish with a pickle gravy. The masala is the same one that is used in amchi pickles. So, this is one of those fiery dishes. And to add more tingle to your already tingling taste buds, actual pickle is added to this dish. When you have leftover pickle, mostly gravy and all pieces gone, you add some water and wash the bottle and add all that to the dish. Can you believe that?
I asked Amma why this recipe, which is a regular feature in most amchi homes, is not featured in Rasachandrika, the popular amchi cookbook. She told me that it wasn't that old a dish. Apparently, a well known cook/chef/caterer created this at a wedding and it became an instant hit. (I am sure even he had leftover vegetables he had no clue what to do with!)
2 Potatoes, boiled, peeled and cubed
2 small Carrots, cut into 2" long pieces
100g Beans, cut into 2" long pieces
6 medium Brinjals, quartered lengthwise
2 tbsp Tamarind Paste
2 tbsp Red Pickle Gravy (optional)
For the masala:
1 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/2" piece Asafoetida (or 1/2 tsp Asafoetida Powder)
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
3-4 Red Chillies
3 tbsp Coriander Seeds
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/4 cup Coconut, scraped
Salt to taste
For the tempering:
1 tbsp Oil
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
7-8 Curry Leaves
Cook the carrot and beans in a pressure cooker.
In a small kadhai, heat 1 tsp of oil and add the mustard seeds, asafoetida, pepper, fenugreek seeds, red chillies and coriander seeds. Roast these ingredients for a few minutes. Cool and grind together with the coconut and turmeric powder.
In a larger kadhai, heat 1 tbsp of oil. Add the ingredients for the tempering. When the mustard splutters, add the brinjal pieces and fry well. Add the tamarind paste and salt. Cover and cook for a few minutes till the brinjal becomes soft. Add the potatoes, carrots and beans along with the ground masala to the brinjals. Add the pickle gravy now, if using.
This is a super hit with anyone who has eaten it. My friend was visiting when this was made and she took a box back home. Apparently, it was not just she who'd fallen in love with the dish. Her folks at home loved it too and at her request comes this much loved amchigele recipe. Bee: this one is for you too. I hope you enjoy this.