Saturday, February 6, 2010

What is this... and can I put it in my food?

There is a Japanese saying - "Whenever you try a new food you add seven days to your life". So here's the challenge, go to a grocery which specializes in some ethnic food. Look for something you've never eaten before, perhaps never even heard of! Extra points if the label is unintelligible or poorly translated and you aren't 100% sure what it is. Do this for many many years and you may find you have run short on foods that are new to you, but you can still use them in new ways!

On a recent trip to a middle eastern shop I picked up a block of tamarind. In the wild tamarind looks like fat overgrown locust pods, and the flesh around the seeds is what you eat. Usually I have tamarind drinks or sweets, but I decided to try for a tamarind curry.
Gathered eggplant, Swiss chard (why Swiss? Do the Swiss even like chard?) onions, garlic and plenty of fresh herbs and exotic spices. The tamarind was still full of seeds and strings, so I boiled it with a little water and put it through a strainer. Tart and tangy, mixed with coconut milk it made a fragrant and unusual curry, delish! And totally worth those extra 7 days...

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