Water Chestnut Curry

Visiting local vegetable markets in Delhi/NCR (National Capital Region) can prove very exciting, at times. I have found some rare gems like Ponnangani Keerai (Sessile Joyweed), Wood Apple, Jackfruit seeds, Greater Yam…. While some of these may be readily available in various parts of the country, they are rarely seen in Delhi/NCR. I always pick up anything that is new in this region to try new dishes. So it was with water chestnuts. While not exactly rare in Northern India, these are mainly used as fasting food or eaten raw. In all my years in Northern India, I have never once had water chestnuts in a cooked form. In November last year, my brother and sister-in-law were visiting. As we were driving, my sister-in-law exclaimed that she had just spotted a green fruit/vegetable that looked exciting. So began the hunt that ended in the purchase of this ‘exotic’ vegetable. I had no idea how to cook them. Hari nonchalantly announced that he knew how to cook them. With a great sigh of relief, I handed them over to him. As, as usual, he turned out a dish that was incredibly tasty.

Water Chestnut Curry

250 gms water chestnuts (singhada, thaneer kashkottai), cut in the centre and the skin removed
2 large potatoes, cubed
1 bay leaf (tej patta, brinji elai)
1/2 onion paste
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tbsp cumin powder (jeera powder, jeeraga podi)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1″ piece cinnamon (dalchini, lavangathu pattai)
2 cloves (laung, kirambu)
2 green cardamom (elaichi, elakkai)
1/2 nutmeg (jaiphal, jaadikai)
1 tsp garam masala
Unrefined salt to taste
Heat a wok and add bay leaf, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon
Roast and set aside to cool
Once cooled, grind into a fine powder
Add onion paste, cumin powder, turmeric powder and garam masala
Add vert little water and grind to a smooth paste
Meanwhile ‘fry’ the water chestnuts in an air fryer at 200o C for 15 minutes
Separately, ‘fry’ the potatoes in the air fryer for 10 minutes at the same settings as for the water chestnuts
Heat a wok and add the bay leaf
Add the ground paste and cook for 2 minutes
Add the water chestnuts and potatoes
Add 1/2 cup water and salt
Cook for 10-15 minutes or till the water chestnut is well cooked
Remove from flame and serve hot with steamed red/brown/millet rice or Indian flatbreads

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