Sunday, July 13, 2014

Creamy Jerusalem Artichoke



"I've long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk....food, for me, has always been an adventure." ~Anthony Bourdain


With every move from one state to another, within the country, the food experience has been an adventure. And when one moves to another country where the Indian footprint is still shallow on their soil, it becomes even more of an adventure and more interesting too.

I had never seen or heard about Papa Topinambur aka Jerusalem Artichoke. I almost put it in my tea. But then I noticed the texture and absence of the gingery aroma. A look at the label, until then unread, told me it was some kind of papa. I nicked off a bit and tasted it. It had a mildly sweet taste. A Google search told me more. I decided to go with my instincts and cook the vegetable without looking for recipes before. And this is what I got; a dish with an alien potato (alien to us) and an Indian touch: fusion food. I liked it very much.


Ingredients

Papa topinambur...........................250 gms
Onion...........................................1 small, chopped small OR half of a medium one
Green chilli..................................use the large variety de-seeded, 1/4 sliced into jullienes
Butter...........................................1tsp unmelted
Cheese..........................................Gouda, 1/2 cup grated. You could use any cheese I suppose
Milk..............................................about 1-2 cups
Red Chilli pwdr.............................a pinch, or acc to taste
Turmeric (optional).......................a teeny-weeny pinch not more than that
Garam masala...............................a small pinch, less than 1/4 tsp I recommend home made masala always. (If you don't have garam masala ground, use 1 whole green cardamom, 1/2 " pc of cinnamon stick, and a few pepper corns. Put these into the hot oil before you add the onions)
Salt to taste
EVOO...........................................1tbsp
Green coriander for garnish



This potato which resembles ginger in appearance only is aka Jerusalem Artichoke.
Boil it in salt water for about 15 minutes. Check to see if it's done and remove. If you can pierce it through without a crunchy feeling, it is done even though they are firmer than a well cooked potato. Peel and slice into thick circles.
   







Heat the Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a non-stick pan. Add the chopped onions. Stir around and cook until the onions turn translucent and before they brown add the papas and the unmelted butter. Mix into the onions.
Add the red chilli powder and if you're using turmeric add it now. Stir from time to time, gently making sure you don't mash them. Actually, I found they are quite firm but soft to the bite, even after they are cooked. Continue to cook on low heat for about 5 minutes or so.




Now add enough milk to drown the papas. Check for salt and add accordingly. Continue to cook on medium low, semi covered. Keep stirring. When the papas pop out their heads it's time to throw in the grated cheese.









I used Gouda, but I guess you could use any firm cheese. Raise heat to medium high and stir briskly to melt the cheese or else it will clump up at the bottom of the pan. When the cheese is melted and melded into a thick gravy, you can add a little more milk and boil for a couple of minutes. Check for salt. Add the garam masala pwdr if you are using garam masala.







When you have the desired thickness of gravy, sprinkle the chopped coriander and remove from the fire. Serve hot with garlic toast. Or buttered pao toasted on a tava.











Happy eating!

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