August 01, 2006
Green Blog 1-Spicy Cucumber Salad/Curry
Summer is special for me. As the temperatures soar, my annual amateur vegetable garden shows an energetic growth spurt and starts bearing fruit. The vines would start scrambling to climb everywhere, the tomatoes look for a support while the beans lean onto the fence,and the backyard is a mass of different leaves and flowers.
Every year one vegetable gets a better foothold (since I am an amateur)and I end having more than I can use. Last year was the Snake gourd(Padavalanga)and the Bitter gourd (Kaipaka).
The highlights this year are the cucumbers. When I let it grow, it grows to be almost a foot long but I prefer the flavor at six to seven inches for a salad . The longer ones are good to cook with as asummer squash.
Very easy to plant and maintain and it doesn't expect a lot from you. A happy surprise, they are producing more than I expected. Each morning, there would at least one hiding under the rambling vines, the dark green skin peeking through the palm shaped lighter leaves.
Oye cucumber, I counted in how many ways I can eat you? Salad, Soup,Raita, Tsatziki, Juice, Pachadi, or just plain chopped up and sprinkled with salt and pepper.
So when I came across this spiced up salad recipe from the Culinary travel book, Mangoes and Curry leaves, I had to promptly make it. And then took it one step forward by making a no-cook curry out of it. With hot white rice and a spicy fish/beef fry, this cold curry is perfect for the heat wave. This is my entry for LG's Green Blog project.
You will need:
Cucumbers- 1/2 lb
Sesame seeds- 1tbsp
Cumin seeds-1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds- 1/8 tsp
Nigella seeds- 1/8 tsp
Green chilies- 2
Red chili powder-1/4 tsp
Turmeric- 1/8 tsp
Coriander leaves- 2-3 tbsp minced
Salt to taste (use sea salt preferably)
Oil- 1 tbsp
1. Cut the cucumbers lengthwise in quarters. Slice off the seeds if they are very big cucumbers. Cut lengthwise again if the pieces are thick. Place in a colander; sprinkle 2 tbsp salt and set over a plate to drain of excess water.
2. In a heavy skillet, dry roast the sesame seeds until golden. Transfer to a plate and then dry roast the cumin seeds till fragrant. Dry grind the sesame and cumin, place in a small bowl and add the yogurt to make a paste.
3. Rinse the cucumber with water and squeeze excess water. Add the cumin paste and coat the cucumber well.
4. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the fenugreek, nigella and chili and stir till the spices release their flavor. Take the pan off the heat and add the cayenne and turmeric.
5. Stir and pour the flavored oil over the cucumbers. Add the lemon juice and let it sit for 10 minutes. Add the coriander leaves and salt if needed.
My cucumber curry:
Double the quantities of the ingredients of the spices( double cucumbers too is if you like a lot of vegetables)and follow all the steps. In the end, after taking it off the flame, add 2 cups plain yogurt blended smoothly with one cup water. Adjust the salt.