FUN FACTS ABOUT TURAI SABZI
Achari Turai Sabzi (Pickled Zuchinni) is a vegetable curry made with zucchini otherwise known as Turai. Also known as Ridge Gourd, this is a vegetable intrinsic to South Asia.
Due to its cooling effects on the body Turai is a popular choice to eat in Summer. It is low in calories, a great source of fibre, Vitamin C and Iron. Turai is very similar to Zucchini or Courgette as its otherwise known.
The main difference between the Zucchini and Turai is in the shape and skin. The Turai is very slender in shape, with a ridged outer skin as opposed to the larger, smoother skinned Zucchini.
Although the taste and nutritional value of the two different species are similar, the cooking process is slightly different. This is mainly due to the fact that the zucchini, being larger in size, has a higher water content.
Often craving the homegrown Turai from my Grandmother's garden, I strived for years to develop a recipe using the Zuchinni of my adopted country. I finally have a recipe and cooking technique that brings back those childhood memories.
Below is a brief explanation of some of the ingredients and cooking methods used in this recipe:
PANCH PHORON (FIVE SPICE BLEND)
As the name indicates, Panch Phoron is a blend of the following five spices:
As a little goes a long way, this mix must be used sparingly. Often available as a premixed blend, it's also possible to bustoring it in an airtight jar. A typical curry requires 2 teaspoons of the premixed variety . For the home made version, mix ¼ teaspoon of fenugreek seeds with ½ teaspoon of the other 4 ingredients.
Pickles are universally popular and South Asian's in particular are uniquely fond of this condiment . My Grandfather was an avid gardener and when his lemon trees were in full bloom it was time for my grandmother to make her famous limoo ka achaar.
Making achaar is a long and complicated process and one I haven't attempted yet. Fortunately a ready made variety is available in most stores today because I love to eat it.
Although achaar is primarily eaten as a condiment I like to add it to some of my recipes due to its unique richness of flavor.
ACHARI TURAI SABZI RECIPE
Cooking a Vegetable curry is a tricky process as the consistency of the vegetables being prepared needs to be moist and tender yet not mushy.
The base of the curry on the other hand , primarily tomatoes and onions, needs to be a well blended mixture that gently coats the vegetables and enhances their flavor.
Since both tomatoes and onions have a high water content, I prefer to cook the curry base separately as it requires a longer cook time and periodically adjusted heat settings to achieve the perfect texture and aroma.
For the vegetables, Deep Frying, or in this case, Air Frying is a method I like to use specifically as it provides a nicely browned caramelized surface and a juicy flavorful center.
The high heat immediately crisps up the outside, sealing in the juices and as the time required to cook food during any type of frying is shorter, the food retains its shape and holds well in the curry, leading to a beautiful presentation.
Achari Turai Sabzi (pickled zuchinni)
- 4 cups zuchinni
- ¼ cup cooking Oil
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 serrano chillies
- 2 tbsps panch phoran spice blend
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 4 roma tomatoes
- 2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp mango pickle
- 1 lemon juiced
- ½ cup cilantro
- 1.Peel and cut the Zuchinni/Turai into half moon shapes and rub with 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
- 2.Cook in an air fryer at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, checking on it every 10-15 minutes to prevent overcooking.
- 3.Heat the ¼ cup oil in a pot and add the Panch Phoron and sliced chillies, tempering for 2-3 minutes.
- 4.Then add the onions, sauteing till medium brown, followed by the minced garlic. After frying the onion/garlic mixture lightly for a minute or so add the tomatoes, cover and cook the mixture on medium heat till the tomatoes start sweating and releasing water.
- 5.Uncover, turn flame on high and add the salt, red chilli powder and turmeric. Cook everything for 10-15 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary till everything blends into a fairly smooth paste.
- Turn the stove off and add the two teaspoons of mango pickle (oil included) as well as the zuchinni and lemon juice. Stir and cover, letting it sit for a few minutes.
- 7.Stir in the Cilantro and serve with hot fresh Naan.