February 27, 2013 by Joanne T Ferguson
So, this is how it starts. (My mind works in “unusual” ways sometimes 😉 )
The 10th of February marked the Year of the Snake beginning Chinese New Year (known as the Spring Festival). Each year the date of Chinese New Year changes to correspond with the black moon; late January or February.
It is a time to wish “peace and prosperity” to everyone and also a time to remember family.
“Legends” in China suggests the Jade Emperor (also the Emperor of the Heavens) decided there should be a way to measure time. On his birthday, (he enjoys birthday too 😉 ) he told all of the animals there would be a swimming race. The first 12 animals across the fast flowing river would have a year of the zodiac named after them.
Next year, Chinese New Year starts on my birthday! 😉
Wouldn’t that be a great if a month was named after you? 🙂
How distracted I can get when talking about “legends” (MARCO, MARCO, MARCO in Coconut, Hibiscus and Lemongrass Granita) and food? lol
While I initially “toyed” in making a snake dish, I got distracted by O Khakhra My Khakhra (as I was hungry! 😉 ) It was then I knew I wanted to make a “snake related” dish with an Indian twist to it too; hence Snake Gourd Vegetarian Snack with Mor Kuzhambu made it “on the list” 🙂 🙂
I know it is “a bit” of a S-T-R-E-T-C-H from “snake”, but I hope you will enjoy my “adapted” version from a “wonderfully exciting” Snake Gourd (Pudalangal) Bonda Curry I found on Hyma’s Flavours while “surfing” the net. 🙂 🙂 (“Everybody’s gone surfin’ …Surfin U.S.A.” …I “mentioned” how my mind works in “unusual” ways. Are you singing now along with me too! lol lol lol)
Confession before I start 😉
While I know fresh ingredients are always best (and yes, I will consider myself whipped with wet noodles in punishment lol ; fresh noodles of course 🙂 ), this was the first time I have cooked with Snake Gourd and while shopping for the ingredients in this recipe, I got the “extraordinary” experience (you know the “buzz” and “tingles” that happens when you discover new foods and new ingredients 😉 ) of uncovering “what’s in the frozen fresh vegetable freezer” 🙂 ; hence Mogli*, Lal Mirch**, Hari Mirch*** and Kerala**** (to name a few) became my new food friends! 🙂
Ingredients: Snack Gourd Snack
120 grams snake gourd (pudalangal), finely chopped,
110 grams Mogli, finely chopped
120 grams kidney beans, canned, drained, chopped
50 grams red onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon raw rice
1 tablespoon Channa dhal (Kadalai paruppu)
1 tablespoon Toor dhal (Thuvaram paruppu)
3 Red Chillies (Lal Mirch), finely diced
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoons rice flour
2 teaspoons besan flour
salt to taste
Vegetable Oil for frying
I cooked the Snake Gourd and Mogli separately in boiling water for about 2 minutes; drained “VERY WELL” blotting with paper towels as oil and water are not friends at the best of times too! 😉
Hint and Tip
The key is to have all of the ingredients cooked, chopped, ready to go when finally ready to assemble to then cook and fry.
Grind rice, channa dhal, toor dhal coarsely; set aside. No need for roasting.
(With my snake gourd and mogli blanched and well drained), in a large fry pan, heat 1 teaspoon of oil, add mustard seeds.
When they “splutter“, (when you make this dish you will know what I mean 😉 ) add finely diced chillis; frying for a few seconds.
Add finely diced snake gourd and mogli; fry for about a minute (until heated through); adding salt to taste. Remove from stove top and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Add ground rice-dhal powder to pan.
Form into balls; heat pan, add oil, frying until golden brown.
The original recipe does “highlight” sometimes when frying, the balls fall apart and in order to avoid, add 1 teaspoon of rice flour and 1 teaspoon of besan to the vegetables.
Because of the difference in ingredients and “perhaps” a higher moister content in my selection of vegetables, I chose to add 2 teaspoons of both; wanting to “try” to avoid my balls falling apart while frying!
I initially had difficulty in having the balls stay together despite talking to them “calmly” and asking for help! lol lol lol
“MARCO, MARCO, MARCO, WHAT do I do? Sorry another blog posting lol lol
So, I decided to “squeeze” the vegetables together. They did “seem” a bit more cooperative after our discussion! lol Then rolled them in besan flour before frying. I tried them in balls, I tried them in patties. While not 100 percent successful, it did and does not deter me from making the “wonderfully” tasting healthy recipe again! 🙂
With common names of padwal, chichinga in Bengali,and serpent gourd, snake gourd is also known as pudalankaai in Tamil, and padavalanga in Malayalam.
What does snake gourd taste like I hear you say? 😉
Actually, it is rather tasteless, but it goes very well with various spices. Because of its water content, snake gourd is low in calories, fat-free and has a “cooling” effect on the body too!
2 cups thick curd
2 tablespoons shredded coconut, (toasted optional)
3 red chillies (Lal Mirch)
1 teaspoon Channa dhal
1 teaspoon Toor dhal
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (Jeera)
1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1/8th teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons rice flour
2 teaspoons coconut oil
4 curry leaves
salt to taste
In saucepan, soak Channa dhal, Toor dhal and 1 teaspoon rice flour for 10 minutes; drain.
In separate saucepan, add curd, salt, curry leaves, turmeric and 1 teaspoon rice flour; mix well. Adjust salt and curry leaves for personal taste.
Grind Channa dhal and Toor dhal with coconut oil, red chillis, cumin seeds and 6 teaspoons of water. Adjust water to personal taste too! 😉
I was having “such” a fun time making this recipe, my mind went on walkies for a moment and instead of adding the shredded coconut to the paste, I added the coconut oil, but all was not lost and I quickly “snapped back to reality” and came up with PLAN B for the shredded coconut; toasting and adding it (once cooled) to the curd! 🙂 🙂
Add ground paste to the curd mix in the pan.
Place pan on medium heat. When you see the mix “foaming at the sides”, stir once. (WHEN you make this, you WILL know what I am talking about! 🙂 🙂 ) When the mix “foams again”, stir again; remove from heat.
Hint and Tip
Do not boil the curd as it will split. 🙂
In separate fry pan, heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil and mustard seeds until they “crackle” (WHEN you make this recipe, you will know the sound too! 🙂 ); remove from heat and cool.
Add the above to the curd mix, stirring; adjust for personal taste too! 🙂 ENJOY!
FOLLOW UP NOTE
I “really” did enjoy this “very” healthy snack. I was able to get some balls that stayed together. I thought you would like to see what was inside the balls; hence the photo.
As an alternative presetnation option, this recipe would be enjoyable served at a dinner party at home as with the “spice” of the chilli paste combined with the coolness of the curd and healthiness of the turmeric, it would be (as the original recipe states “a sure hit dish” I agree too!
Will you now try using snake gourd in a recipe or two?
I wonder how this recipe would taste with Moroccan spices, true? 🙂
Do YOU get the “buzz and tingles” when discovering new foods and ingredients too? 😉
* Mogli = radish
** Lal Mirch = red chilli
*** Hari Mirch = green chili
**** Kerala = Bitter Gourd Courgettes