Friday, March 27, 2009

Cashewnut Side dish (Tendley Bibbe Upkari)

Festivals are times we look forward to the good old moments we spent with our loved ones especially if you are a far away land like in my case. Today is Gudi Padwa. It reminds me of sweet moments when Mom used to wake me up from a deep slumber and force me to eat Kadoo Limba Patra and Good (Neem Leaves fried in oil) after brushing my teeth. I used to detest the taste much to the bitter flavour of Neem Leaves. Lunch is a big affair with a lavish spread on Samsaar Padwaa (Gudi Padwa as known in Konkani). We had Khotto, Madganey, Patrodo, Bibbe Upkari (king of all dishes), Phodis, Saasam. Today I cannot help but sigh in nostalgia as I am terribly missing home be it the love and affection of mom and dad, the early morning calls wishing Happy Gudi Padwa or simply the feeling of being with your loved ones. The hope of a new beginning. The hope of a better life.

Here's some info I got when I googled Gudi Padwa, which is quite an interesting read:

"Gudhi Padwa (Devnagari: गुढीपाडवा {often mis-pronounced as guDi padwa because ढी sounds like डी while speaking}) is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month, and is celebrated as New Year's Day by Maharashtrians and Hindu Konkanis ( called as Samvatsar ( Sausar ) Padvo or Yugadi by Konkanis ). It is the same day on which great king Shalivahana defeated Sakas in battle.
This is also first day of Marathi Calendar. This festival is supposed to mark the beginning of Vasant (spring). According to the Gregorian calendar this would fall sometime at the end of March and the beginning of April. According to the Brahma Purana, this is the day on which Brahma created the world after the deluge and time began to tick from this day forth. This is one of the 3 and a half days in the Indian Lunar calendar called "Sade-Teen Muhurt", whose every moment is considered auspicious in general to start a new activity.
While the people of Maharashtra use the term Gudhi Padwa for this festival and the Konkanis use Sanvsar Padvo (sanvsar derived from samvatsar meaning year) the people of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka term the same festival, observed on the same day, Ugadi. The Sindhi festival of Cheti Chand is celebrated same day."

Today I prepared Bibbe Upkari (Raw Cashewnut Fries). Amongst Konkanis, its holy to eat Cashewnuts on this auspicious day. For generations to come, this dish is quite symbolic and on Gudi Padwaa day, we make Bibbe Daali Aambat. I decided to make Tendley Bibbe Upkari. Since, I had less Ivy Gourd, I added boiled Potatoes for added flavour and to increase the quantity as well. Take your pick on the vegetables accordingly.

Tendley Bibbe Upkari

Serves: 6 servings
Cooking time: 45 minutes hour (excluding the preparation time)

Cashewnut: 2 cups (Pre-soaked in warm water for 4-6 hours)
Ivy Gourd: 3 cups (chopped into thin - 1" pieces)
Potato: 1 cup (optional - boiled and chopped into thin slices)
Grated coconut: 1/2 cup
Mustard seeds: 1/2 teaspoon
Corn Oil/ Any vegetable oil: 2 tablespoon
Red Chillies(Byadgi preferably): 2-3
Curry Leaves: 6-7 of them
Salt as per taste
Water: For boiling vegetables

Pre-soak cashewnuts in water the previous day. Once done they would be swollen and kind of plump.
Heat oil in a kadhai and temper with mustard seeds and chillies. Saute for 2-3 minutes after seeds start popping. Remove the chillies if you wish to avoid spicy taste. Add Potatoes and Ivy Gourd. Saute for 5 minutes till the flavour of tempering spreads across the vegetables. Add Cashewnuts and add water. Bring to boil and simmer on low flame with a covered lid till water evaporates and the vegetables are completely cooked. Adjust salt as per taste. Once done, garnish with grated coconut and serve hot as a side dish.

Tip: For a sweet taste, one could add 1/3 teaspoon of Jaggery while boiling vegetables to give a mild sweet flavour. Raw Cashewnuts are available in plenty in season in Udupi, Mangalore and Bangalore. They are the actual ones to be used for this Upkari, we call it Jeevo Bibbo (Fresh Cashew). Since, I did not have them handy, I decided to soak store brought Cashews and made Upkari.