Discover flavours of Kodagu

Discover flavours of Kodagu

Discover flavours of Kodagu

There was a lot of things I was sure of doing when I was growing up and that was not to become a chef. My dream was to become a pilot, but due to whatever circumstances, I couldn't pursue my dream.  

But now that I think about it,  food has been the love of my life. I used to sit in my mother's kitchen and watch her prepare something delicious. Being a Bengali, food was something we all took very seriously.  

When I graduated high school, and when my palate finally had the ability to understand the different tastes, I joined a culinary school and  specialised in food production.  After working with multiple hotel chains for a few years, I now work in Cafe Felix as Chef de Cuisine.

Bengaluru is one of those places that has something for everybody. And I believe that the best way to experience a place is through food. There's so much you can learn about the history and culture of the place just by its food. Having said that, I really need to find some time to get out of my kitchen and explore some local cuisine here.  

But I did travel to Coorg and  Kerala recently. I preferred to book homestays to experience the lifestyle of the people. I enjoyed peeping into their  kitchens and learnt a lot from the elders.  

The recipe I have shared today is  from Coorg. It's a classic dish prepared there and I knew that I had to add it in the series of 'Chef Ritwik's Travel Diaries' that's going on at the restaurant.  

The homestay was located in the middle of a coffee and pepper plantation. What drew me to 'Coorg Pandi' was the way  it was prepared. There are two things you have to remember when making this  - the  authentic masala for this is hard to come by. You mostly make it at home and is roasted before  cooking. The second thing is the kachampuli which is a dark vinegar used to prepare the dish. These two make pandi curry what it is.  

I've added my own twist to this without damaging the authentic flavours of it. It's something everyone can make at home and enjoy to their heart's content.

Ritwik Sarkar

 Recipe

For black Coorg masala

Coriander powder, 25gm
Cumin powder, 15gm
Red chilli powder, 30gm
Turmeric powder, 10gm
Peppercorn powder,20gm

Method

Dry roast all the masalas separately in a heavy bottom pan.
Keep stirring all the time to avoid the masalas to burn. You should achieve a nice coffee brown colour once you have finished roasting them. Cool and reserve.

For pandi fry

Pork curry cut (shoulder and belly), 250 gm
Curry leaves, 15 gm
Onion sliced, 200 gm
Turmeric powder, 5 gm
Ginger julienne, 5 gm  
Ginger paste, 25 gm
Garlic paste, 20 gm
Green chilli, 4
Black Coorg masala, 45gm
Kachampuli vinegar,25ml
Black pepper, 10 gm
Coriander chopped, 25gm

Method

In a pressure cooker,  take pork curry cut. Add turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste, a little salt, crushed curry leaves (half of the total amount), half of the sliced onion and water. Put on a medium-high heat. 

After the first whistle put on a medium-low heat, and wait for about 20 minutes. Let the pressure cooker sit for a while. 

Then take the mixture out in a heavy bottom pan. Do not throw anything away, even the fat. We do not add any extra fat because this is what will cook the pork and keep it moist. Continue to cook. 

Add slit green chilli, black masala and a teaspoon of black pepper.  
About 15 minutes later, add kachampuli vinegar and cook.
The fat and all the liquid will slowly dry up.  
Finish it off with another teaspoon of black pepper, rest of the curry leaves, julienne ginger and freshly chopped coriander.  
Let the mixture cool and chop it up into small pieces with the masala.

For raw mango  jaggery glaze

Raw mango, 500 gm
Jaggery, 100 gm
Tamarind pulp, 50 gm
Coriander chopped, 15gm
Cumin powder, 5 gm
Red chilli powder, 5 gm
Five-spice powder, 5 gm
Honey, 10 gm
Lime zest, 2

Method

Roast the raw mangos till soft. Cool the mangoes and take out the pulp.  
Now, take the pulp in a pan and heat it. Add grated Jaggery, tamarind pulp, honey and cook for  a while. 

Finish by adding all the spices, chopped coriander and lime zest.  
Bring the chutney to room temperature and reserve.

To assemble

Deep fry the sago crisps and smear the raw mango glaze on them.  
Finally place a spoonful of the pandi mixture on the crisps and serve.

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