Have you ever been in the grocery store and wondered what some of those unfamiliar veggies are? We have! That’s why Sarah Nicole Edwards of Copper + Cloves is going to share with us how we can implement lesser known ingredients into our Bangalore kitchens. Who knows, they may replace something that you aren’t able to find here or even become a new staple ingredient!
BOTTLE GOURD ‘CEVICHE’
Traditionally, bottle gourd (sometimes known locally as doodhi) is eaten as part of sambar served with dosa or idli, in which it is cooked with spices until soft. I wanted to try it with fresher, more vibrant flavours, and as the bottle gourd is part of the same family as cucumbers and zucchinis, I was inspired to experiment with a raw dish- much to the amusement of my cook Divya, who thought I was crazy. But the texture of raw, thinly sliced bottle gourd is perfect for absorbing the tangy flavours of the dressing in this dish. I’ve taken inspiration for the flavours from South America and Asia, but the star ingredients are local, and this dish is really simple to make.
Even Divya conceded that I was on to something, and we first served this dish at the Yoga Brunch at Nicobar in Bangalore. I was so hesitant and worried that people would think it was weird, and the recipe went through many iterations before I was happy with it to serve at the brunch. The recipe is crunchy, tangy, with a balanced dressing that is sweet and savoury, and a crunch comes from the toasted seeds. I was nervous because the 25 guests at the brunch were trying it raw for the first time, but people loved it! So I hope you enjoy this too.
You will need: A peeler or sharp knife
1 bottle gourd
A handful of microgreens (available from Happy Healthy Me– broccoli works well for this dish)
1 handful fresh coriander leaves
1 red chili
zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon of lime juice
1 handful pumpkin seeds
pinch of Himalayan salt and black pepper
1 tbsp. cold-pressed oil (sunflower or safflower works)
3 cm piece of ginger
1 tsp. miso paste (available from Happy Healthy Me or you can buy this one online from Urban Platter)
1 tsp. Himalayan honey or jaggery liquid
1 teaspoon lime juice
pinch sea salt and black pepper
First, prepare the gourd. Peel the tough outer skin of the gourd and the first tough layer underneath and discard. Using a peeler or very carefully using a knife, peel thin strips of the gourd. Keep going until you get to the spongy part in the middle with seeds. Stop when you get to that white spongy middle part (it will be much harder to cut into thin strips), rotate the gourd and repeat, on each side. You should have a pile of thin, translucent ribbons of gourd which you should place in a bowl. Take the middle section and cut into chunks and set aside for sambar! The spongy, white middle part won’t be needed for this recipe but there is no reason for it to go to waste
Pour the lime juice and the lime zest over the ribbons of gourd and mix well with a pinch of salt and pepper (the lime juice stops the gourd going brown)
Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan with salt until they turn golden brown and puff up.
Meanwhile, deseed and dice the red chili into tiny pieces, and pluck the coriander leaves, wash, and finely chop.
Create the dressing – put all the ingredients into a jar and shake until combined, or whisk with a fork- ensure the miso has fully dissolved into the dressing ingredients.
Now to assemble. pour the dressing over the gourd, add the chili and the coriander and mix well so it is evenly coated. Lay out the gourd on a plate and throw over the microgreens and toasted pumpkin seeds.