Once upon a time when I was a child, we had a plantain tree at home. It was this slushy place in our backyard where lot of water would accumulate from rains or just every day watering of plants. My grandpa made sure that our maid poured all unused water from washing and cleaning, into the bed of this plantain tree. It was majestic with all its huge leaves, and was considered a symbol of prosperity. These are some typical south-east Asian vegetables. And our vegetables around these parts are used from their fruit to their roots. Literally. For example – the Plantain. Plantain or Raw banana is often used to make fried or boiled vegetable all over India, especially in southern India and Bengal. The ripe fruit is eaten as fruit, while the raw form is used in curries. The bark of the plantain tree is also used in curries. The leaves are used to eat food in, as it is believed that eating in a plantain leaf is visually appealing and can aid digestion too.
Since plantains are starchy, you may make it a point to use a complimentary herb/spice to balance the ‘fullness’ generated from eating. The spice generally used is ginger. But you could use thyme, or rosemary, or just eat it with salt and pepper. It is as good.
Sometimes it is easier to assemble than make a big one pot meal. This is how I did it today for lunch.
For the kebabs:
- 2 medium sized raw plantains, washed and peeled
- Half a medium sized onion, finely chopped
- 3 green chillies, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 tspn grain mustard
- 1 ½ tbspn organic rice flour
– Slice the plantain into chunks, and boil in unsalted water for 5-7 minutes. Strain them and run them under cold water. Add them to a processor, with the chopped onion, chillies, garlic and ginger, and rice flour, and process till everything come together, and at the same time the vegetable is mashed sufficiently
– Season the mixture. Make small balls, press them a bit in between your finger and cook them a tspn or 2 of olive oil on the stove.
– Take them out on paper towels.
For the turmeric roasted gherkins:
- 150 g raw gherkins, washed and sliced vertically into 4
- 1 heaped tspn turmeric
- Olive oil
– Preheat the oven to 220 C
– Coat the sliced gherkins with turmeric and oil and roast them till they are lightly charred. Keep aside.
- 125 g WW pasta
- 2 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tbspn of tomato puree
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil
- roasted almond (dry or in a tspn of oil), roughly chopped
– Cook the pasta as per packet instructions
– To make an extremely simple/rough pasata, process the tomatoes till they are runny, and cook them for about 5 minutes with the tomato puree, garlic, salt, and a tspn of olive oil.
– Strain the pasta, mix the pasata in, and arrange pasta with the kebabs and the roasted gherkins, and almonds. Serve immediately or pack separately for lunch.