11 October 2015

Pumpkin & Pork Fry ~ Naga Style

Fall is here!! What can be more fallish than Pumpkin! I love pumpkin, it could be a cake, or a curry ~ i simply, truly, love this plump goodness. 

Today's recipe is all about using the extra block of pork fat that you sometimes are left with after you've trimmed your pork meat for a curry. The combination of pumpkin and pork is a really good marriage of flavors, and when you add fermented bamboo shoot to it..it's Christmas every time you have it.

Here's the detailed recipe. Hope you're encouraged to to try this combination ~ Happy Fall!!

500 gms – Sweet Pumpkin, diced
200 gms – Port Fat
2 – Medium sized Onions, diced
¼ Cup – Fermented Bamboo Shoots
10 or more – Dried red Chilies, chopped in half
½ Tsp – Red Chili powder
6-8 – Garlic cloves
Salt to taste

In a deep frying pan, on high heat, render the pork fat till you get the required amount of oil from it for cooking this dish. Take out the now lightly browned fat with a slotted spoon, and keep it aside.

In this oil, toss in the diced onions, the red chilies, and fry for a minute or two. Then, add the diced pumpkin, pork fat, fermented bamboo shoot, and red chilies. Give it a good stir and cook it covered on high heat, stirring once in a while till the pumpkin begins to soften.  Reduce heat to simmer, add the smashed garlic, and cook till the pork fat is cooked through and tender.

Once done, serve it with hot rice and some dried fish or eromba chutney.

Note: If you can find pumpkin with a "green skin," you want to pick that up. And, you know the pork fat is cooked when the fork run right through when you poke it.

13 June 2015

Smoked Eel Curry -- Rongmei Naga style!

This dish may not be everyone's cup of tea, and some may even be repulsed by it. However, in my home state, Manipur, eel is a delicacy. We're talking close to a thousand rupees for a kilo of smoked eel. Yup!  As a child i hated eel with vengeance, because my mom served fresh eel as a therapeutic soup when i was recovering from some prolonged illness. It took me a long, long while to overcome the unpleasant memory associated with anything to do with eel. 

I don't exactly remember when i started enjoying having eel, but my! oh my! do i now love smoked eel -- completely in love with it! If you chance upon smoked eel, pray try! I'm still not too keen on fresh eel (it taste exactly like fish when it's fresh); however, it's amazing how the taste completely intensify, and just different and lovely once it's smoked. This distinct flavor is what i have come to so love.

Today's curry is an adaptation of my mom's recipe. When mom makes this curry she uses a whole lot of other local spices, but i'm quite satisfied with this simple and spicy style i have prepared for you today. I hope you get your hands on to this exotic goodness and get to try it! Here's the recipe.

Smoked Eel - 3-4 
Tomato - 2-3 Medium sized
Dried Red Chilies - 5-6 or more
Garlic Pods - 5-6
Onion - 1 Medium sized, diced
Veg Oil - 2 Tbsp
Water - 2 Cups
Turmeric powder - 1/2 Tsp
Chili Powder - 1 Tsp
Salt to taste


Cut the smoked eel into bite size, soak it in boiling water for sometime to soften it. Drain the water and wash it again with change of water. Keep aside.

In a pan, heat oil, fry the onions, tomatoes, and dried chilies till the tomatoes soften.

Now, add salt, chili powder, and turmeric powder, then stir to combine.

Add the smoked eel, allow the flavors to come together, about 2 -3 minutes.

Pour water and let it come to boil, then add the garlic ( smash it with the side of your knife).

Cover it and simmer till it's done.

You may, as always, serve this with hot rice and some nice dried fish chutney or eromba.