Oh how I’ve missed all of you and your amazing comments! I’ve been itching to get back to cooking and blogging and now exams and university are over I’m here to fatten you all up again! My brain is currently swollen with confusion, not knowing what to do next. After seventeen years of full-time education it’s time to close the gate on that part of my life and open a new one leading to a future full of new adventures, ideas and possibilities. First on my list of priorities is to get back to my favourite hobby- blogging and sharing recipes with you.
During the past few days I’ve been basking in the sunshine and enjoying the usually short-lived English summertime. In this type of hot weather I love to eat light dishes like salads, cold pasta, rice and other grain pilafs and lots of fruit juice. In order to spend as much time outside as possible, quick dishes are essential. Eating outside is something I cannot even remember doing (how can it have been that long? Utter madness!) Just watch out for bees, wasps and accidently swallowing flies (might be a delicacy in some places but definitely not in the East Midlands).
This recipe for Hot and Sour Tamarind Cassava is an East African inspired dish which I urge you to make at least once. It is so simple, so light and sooo delicious. I created it on a whim (which is how I like to create most things), and was so pleased with the results that I knew I had to share the recipe with my readers. The recipe was inspired by a dish called Khatta Bateta (a hot and sour potato dish made with green mangoes) which is a favourite in my family of East African descendants. I am crazy about cassava (a.k.a ‘mogo’) and love to experiment with various flavour combinations like this. This recipe took me about 35 minutes to make and it was perfect for a hot day. I hear you ask, ‘hot food on a hot day can’t be good can it?’ Of course it can, silly. Hot food somewhat cools the body down and also releases those feel-good endorphins. Although if you don’t like too much heat, feel free to add less chilli. Just remember that this is hot and sour cassava. Traditionally, dishes like these are topped with things like fresh coriander, crushed potato chips/crisps or Bombay mix, chopped spring onions, chopped chillies and roasted peanuts or cashews. These toppers add so many interesting flavours and textures to the dish- play around and discover your own favourites.
Hot and Sour Tamarind Cassava
(Serves 4 hungry people)
800g cassava, peeled, cubed and boiled until al dente (or just boil some frozen cassava and cut it into pieces- Guess which one I did…)
1 ½ tsp ginger, minced
5 hot green chillies, minced (or according to taste)
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
6-8 curry leaves
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida (optional)
1 ½ tbsp concentrated tomato puree
5 cups hot water
2 tsp tamarind pulp
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste (to balance the hot and sour)
¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped
¼ cup spring onions, chopped (optional)
Plus crushed Bombay mix, crushed potato chips/crisps, peanuts, extra chilli etc according to your liking.
1. In a jug or bowl, whisk together the hot water, tamarind pulp and tomato paste. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida, ginger, garlic and chillies. Sauté until aromatic.
3. Add the tamarind/tomato water to the pan and allow to simmer for 3 minutes.
4. Add the cassava pieces and boil for a further 10 minutes. Season with salt and sugar and remember to keep tasting it. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes. By this time the starch from the cassava should have slightly thickened the sauce. If not, remove 4-5 pieces of cassava, mash them and re-add them to the pan and stir thoroughly.
5. Add the chopped coriander and serve with all of your favourite toppers.
The dish is perfect for lunch or a light dinner on a hot summer day!