Saturday, 14 February 2009
Arvi is an Indian vegetable that looks almost like jerusalem artichoke. It's not the most attractive looking vegetable and I'm afraid I have tended to ignore it somewhat. Mainly because I just didn't know what to do with it or how to cook it and then, a big thanks to my husband, I
started enjoying it when he cooked it using a simple north Indian recipe.[Yes, he has a wicked way with the veg!]
This is a dryish, stir-fried kind of dish. Apparently you can make it with gravy but that's a little tricky as the arvi tends to go all glutenous and gooey in the company of any liquid. The gujerati community of India use the large, green arvi leaves to make a lovely snack dish called 'patra'. This dish uses the actual root arvi. It tastes a little potato-like, a little on the bland side and therefore easily takes on outside flavours. It has less carbohydrates than potato and will not lead to spikes in blood sugar levels like the potato.
1 tspn caraway seeds [ajwain]
2 tbsn sunflower oil
salt to taste
1-2 whole dry red chillies
0.5 tspn dry red chilli flakes
0.25 tspn turmeric powder
black pepper to taste
chopped coriander for garnish
1. Prepare the arvi first. Boil it in a pan of water until it is just cooked through but not squishy. Drain, peel the arvi and chop in half-inch rounds.
2. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan or wok. When the oil is hot add the whole dry red chillies and when they begin to turn dark add the caraway seeds [ajwain]. The seeds will begin to splutter and crackle.
3. Add the prepared arvi, turmeric and chilli flakes, stir and let it cook over low to medium heat, stirring frequently. Ideally you want to keep stirring it to ensure the arvi doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan but should begin to crispen up and brown gently. This should take no more than 4-5 minutes.
4. Add the salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir, garnish with chopped fresh coriander and tuck in.
Arvi is a root vegetable and I'm sure there must be some nutritional benefit there [need to research that a bit]. The caraway seeds have a lovely, distinct flavour and goes very well with the bland arvi and has good digestive properties.
Next time you are making a side dish of potatoes to go with the other indian dishes on the menu, try this arvi dish instead and add a new flavour to your usual repertoire.
If you've got some recipes using this unusual vegetable do please share it here.