Monday, September 8, 2008

Vaali Ambat


I have never submitted anything to the RCI event, but I love reading the round-ups. Indian food is so vast and this event offers snapshots of each region. However, this month the focus is Konkani cuisine, my homecooking. This was one event I needed to complete.

I was not sure what I would make but our visit to the market sealed the deal. One stand sells what Malabar Spinach. I remember as a child my mother attempted to recreate the recipes of her childhood with the ingredients we had in the States. Vaali roughly translates as spinach. However, the industrialized spinach of the states is not exactly the flavorful spinach of India. But, this Malabar spinach has every bit the robustness needed to counter the coconut masala and daal in Vaali Ambat.

In Konkani cuisine, coconut is the star of most dishes. It is either used fresh on vegetable dishes (something I have never really liked) or else ground with chillis to make a masala (something that can't be replicated with any other ingredient.)

This dish is so fantastic I would consume it by the gallon like soup, but it really should be served with a dry vegetable or two, rice, curds and some pappadams.

Vaali Ambat

Cook until tender
1/8 cup toor daal
1 lb spinach


1/4 cup coconut
3 roasted chillis
1/8 tsp tamarind paste.

Add paste to the spinach/dal mixture.

Sautee 1 diced small onion in oil and then use this to top the ambat.

I am sending this over to RCI: Konkani run by Deepa from Recipes and More and started by Lakshmi of Veggie Cuisine.


Lori said...

Simple yet wow what flavor! It sounds delicious. I never cooked with coconut until I made Olan Stew.My husband and I were totally blown away by the flavor. That is also when I discovered curry leaves!

bee said...

will kokum work? there's some i need to use.

Dee said...

Is Konkani cuisine similar to South Indian? I'm half South Indian (several generations removed from Indian) so it's close to my heart. However, I don't cook it enough because the kiddo freaks at spice and the food's very accessible and really cheap. I really must get hold of my grandmother's recipes soon!

DB seems very exciting. Maybe I should...

maybelles mom said...

Lori: I had to look up Olan stew, but it sounds good. and this is a breeze.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Congratulation on being a winner in the Roayl Foodie Joust this month. Way to go Maybelle's mom:D

Thistlemoon said...

Sounds delicious, healthy and filling! Nice picture too!

Manggy said...

Wow, that looks like a very short and easy recipe! Now if only I could easily find dhal :)

preppy little dress AKA "PLD" said...

interesting, thanks for sharing!

Alexa said...

I am going to have to try this. Spinash-dhal dishes are my husband's favorites.

eatingclubvancouver_js said...

This is intriguing. I'm always intimated by the vastness of Indian cuisine: so many different regions, cuisines, languages. . .

maybelles mom said...

Bee--I asked a higher authority, my mom, and she said maybe, and I tried it with amaranath leaves and toor dal and that worked. I should say it is different but tasty.

Dee--South Indian is very vast. Basically anything from Bombay south. Several generations removed? Is your family diasporic like from Africa, Fiji or Caribbean? I had read quite a while ago maybe of those Indians were ethnically Tamil and Gujurati (who are not south indian.) I would suggest that you read the blog tastes like home because it takes about diasporic cooking.

maybelles mom said...

Bellini Valli: Thanks.

JennDZ: The Leftover Queen: Thanks and it is a breeze.

Manggy: It really isn't hard.

preppy little dress: Thanks for visiting.

Alexa:Oh Spanish Dal recipes? I would love to hear more.

[eatingclub] vancouver || js: I think this is how I feel about various other asian cuisines. my suggestions is to pick up a food with very few recipes. Madhur Jaffrey has an old one about the each of the regions of India. If I find the citation, I will email you (or use it for First Thursdays)

Anonymous said...

Ooh I love the sound of that paste. Is it coconut milk or fresh coconut? Sorry I'm completely new to Konkani cuisine.

maybelles mom said...

jude--it is fresh coconut. Indian grocery stores often has pregrated coconut--but don't use the stuff that bakers use as it is too sweet. If you can't get it, I bet it would taste interesting with coconut milk.

Anonymous said...

Where do you find Malabar spinach? West Side Market? I'd love to source it here in the Cleveland area.