A time for treats

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FOOD -

ONE of the high­lights of Deep­avali when I was a child was Coca-Cola. Bizarre? Well, Deep­avali was the only time my sib­lings and I got to en­joy junk food. My par­ents weren’t health freaks but they were adamant that we never eat junk food. Ever. So de­prived was I of brightly-coloured, chem­i­cal-filled treats that when my sis­ter gave me a lit­tle Hello Kitty purse clev­erly con­cealed in a pack of Cheezels, I was thrilled ... with the Cheezels! Dur­ing Deep­avali though, my par­ents lost all con­trol. My dad would bring home many ham­pers from his work­place ... and you know as well as I that ham­pers = junk food. Bo­nanza!

These days, Deep­avali is about fam­ily. The high­light of the day is a potluck lunch with my en­tire fam­ily. The meal is al­ways noth­ing short of ex­cel­lent. Among the Deep­avali lunch sta­ples are tomato rice, chicken (and veg­etable) kurma, cut­lets (both fish and veg­e­tar­ian), stir-fried mixed veg­eta­bles and spinach fry. My mother’s con­tri­bu­tion was sweet and sour brin­jal and a spicy veg­e­tar­ian “mut­ton” var­aval (dry curry) which re­mains one of my favourite dishes. My mother isn’t around any more but I still make it a point to make her de­li­cious varu­val ev­ery year.

The veg­e­tar­ian meat tastes very lit­tle like ac­tual mut­ton but the varu­val is de­li­cious. The “mut­ton” (made from mush­room stalks, flour, Chi­nese herbs and flavour­ing) is ten­der and soaks up the spices, re­sult­ing in a truly flavour­ful dish. I usu­ally eat this with string-hop­pers and sothi but it goes well with rice too. Happy Deep­avali ev­ery­one! – Veg­gie-Chick

For more of Veg­gie Chick’s Deep­avali favourites, go to nodesserts.blogspot.com

Mum’s Veg­e­tar­ian Varu­val

3 cups veg­e­tar­ian mut­ton, cut into 3cm pieces 1 potato, cut into 2cm pieces 1 large onion, sliced 2 cloves of gar­lic, minced 2 sticks cin­na­mon 1 tsp cumin seeds 2 star anise, bro­ken 1-2 tsp cili boh 3 tbsp chilli pow­der + ¼ cup wa­ter, to make a thick paste ¾ cup veg­etable stock/wa­ter ¼ cup co­conut milk 2 stalks lemon­grass, peeled and smashed (use only the white part) Salt Hand­ful of curry leaves Pour about ½ cup oil in a wok/fry­ing pan and fry the pota­toes for 3-5 mins or un­til they are just about to get golden. Re­move and drain.

Re­move all but 3 tbsp oil from the wok. Over medium heat, fry the onions till ten­der. Add the gar­lic, cin­na­mon, cumin and star anise and fry till fra­grant. Add the cili boh and a minute later, the chilli paste. Fry till the oil be­gins to sep­a­rate, about 3 mins. Add the mock mut­ton and pota­toes and stir un­til well coated with the chilli mix­ture. Add the stock/ wa­ter and let the mut­ton sim­mer. Once the liq­uid has re­duced by half, add the co­conut milk, lemon­grass and salt and con­tinue to sim­mer, stir­ring of­ten so that the curry doesn’t stick to the bot­tom of the wok and burn. When al­most dry, add the curry leaves (tear them to re­lease their flavour) and stir into the curry. Re­move and serve.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.