September 12, 2007

Chow Chow

Every cuisine probably has at least one dish that helps people use up leftover vegetables. Avial is the first thing that comes to mind. Chitrapur Saraswat cuisine is no different.

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.

Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes. Serve with chapatis or rice and dali saar. I enjoyed it with rice rotis as well.

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.

And last, but not least in any way, this is also for dearest Asha as yet another entry for the RCI Karnataka event.


Aarti said...

Hugsss n muaahhsss

Something just told me i might find it here today... thanks a bunch di... :)

sure gonna try this out tomorrow if not today... :)

cant wait~~

Bindiya said...

was just waiting for you to come visit my blog-(inlovewithfood.blogspot), you know why? because all this while i have been a silent admirer of yours!and i have visited all ur blogs several times, love ur down-to-earth style,and ur smile.this recipe with pickle seems delicious! will definitely give it a try...and dining hall rocks!

Roopa said...

looks delicious raga! its one of our favorite goes perfect with chapatis :)

Padma said...

Nice chow chow recipe Raaga, I have something like this coming up....I sheerly love that masala mix

Raaga said...

@Aaroo: Just for you sweetheart. Nee kaettu na taramala? Do try it :-)

@Bindiya: Silent spectator? You should have left a comment, I'd have reached your blog much earlier. But I am glad you drop by.

@Roopa: Great with chapatis, no doubt.

@Padma: Thanks :-) The masala is what makes this dish :-)

Finla said...

It looks good.
Agree with roopa does well with chapathis.

Laavanya said...

That's very interesting Raaga - you had another recipe as well with Pickle Masala right. This looks very good.. will try sometime and let you know.

Rajitha said...

looks delicious raaga..perfect for days when you have one carrot..handfull of beans and it is snowing no grocery shopping!

FH said...

Chow Chow is also mixed Sev with everything you can think of!:D
Looks delicious Raaga, I am learning a lot about your community.Thank you so much for this too.I will take it:)

Richa said...

hey, that looks super delish :)

Suganya said...

My my.. That chef had a thinking cap on. I gotta try this Raaga! How long will this stay good?

Sreelu said...

Hey Raaga, for a minute I thought I would see hot piping upma and kesari bhaaat, never knew chow chow means Chayote Squash.
Looks delicious dear !!

Sharmi said...

lot of delicious RCI entries. looks yum.

Bong Mom said...

You are really increasing my very limited knowledge now. So this is what Chow Chow means but not when in "Chow Chow Bhaat" right ?

musical said...

I find this name for Chayote Squash the cutest :-D. and then there is chow chow baath, or the sev with anything like Ashakka said, and you know what, i IISc mess, they used to serve the shavige-rave mixed uppitu by the name chow-chow :-D. Your recipe sounds yummy!

Cynthia said...

I like all the little things ones has to do to create this dish like rinising the pickle bottle and adding the remnants to the dish as it cooks :)

Raaga said...

@Happy: Yeah... hot chapatis and chow chow... the "all's well with the world" feeling :-)

@Laavanya: Yeah... achari aloo :-)I know you will try. I am planning to make ammini kuzhakattai over the weekend... lets hope it comes out well.

Raaga said...

@Rajitha: Yes... perfect for those days!!

@Ashakka: That's new to me... I've added one more chow chow to my list :-) You have a few more days and hence many more recipes coming your way.

@Richa: Thanks

Raaga said...

@Suganya: Yeah... thank him :-) In the fridge... I just tested... good for 10 days as long as you don't bring it out and let it lie outside :-)

@Sreelu: But my dish has no chayote squash :-) Thanks. I am glad you had a nice surprise.

Raaga said...

@Sharmi: Thanks :-)

@Sandeepa: My half baked knowledge is actually helping increase yours... I am very very happy :-)

Yes, so in amchi terminology, this is what chowchow means

Raaga said...

@Musical: I've eaten that at the IISc mess too :-) and even made it at home one day when I started making rava upma and realized that I didn't have enough rava :-)))

@Cynthia: The little things that make all the difference!! Thanks

musical said...

Great, my dear fellow IIScian :).