Experimenting with new tastes

After my terribly British lunch at the Harrods cafe last week, and having had my fix of home, I had headed straight to the supermarket to the local fresh veg section. I needed to redress the balance.

I’d fancied buying some pumpkin and had spotted they were selling slices of organic pumpkin for 12 Ringgit (about £3), but when started browsing the small section of local produce on offer, I found some local pumpkin for just 2 Ringgit! I got a bit blasé then and had soon snapped up some ultra skinny local celery, green chillis, something that looked just like grass but was called kuchi (I think), fresh young ginger, long beans, a long ridged cucumbery thing called bitter gourd, some spring onions and an assortment of other goods, all for a fraction of the ‘expat’ prices. I also bagged a carton of coconut milk, some turmeric powder and something they called kurma. It sounded a bit like korma, so I reckoned that would taste of curry, right?

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Later, as it was a Friday, and my NZ friend from the Hague, Kathy, makes Friday Night Soup on that day of the week, I decided I’d do the same. Only, I’d necessarily do it my way. I could not find a Patak’s curry paste nor probably 50% of the right ingredients, but do it I would.

I fried ginger, onion, chilli and garlic in olive oil, then added my turmeric. The kurma would be next but, sensibly, I tasted it first. Well, I have no idea what it was but it was not korma or curry. It tasted of sawdust. In the bin it went! I added chopped pumpkin, carrot, long beans, the local skinny celery and the stuff that looked like grass and poured over the coconut milk with some water, letting it simmer. The bitter gourd was next but there was something about it that made me taste it raw first. Aha! The clue had been in the name. It was so bitter, it took a layer of skin off my tongue. I wondered if it might taste better cooked, but dared not simply bung it in with everything else in case it made my gently bubbling yumminess taste disgusting. I boiled it separately, and, after 15 minutes it was soft and transparent, inviting even – so I tasted it. Yuk! In the bin with that too! Finally I added the chick peas (only I used butter beans). Friday Night Soup cannot do without pulses.

When the Friday Night Soup that was not Friday Night Soup was ready, I served it in two bowls, topped with a necessary blob of natural yoghurt (local of course) and served with tortilla chips, which I also deem necessary.

It was delicious. I wonder what Kathy would have thought of my invention test?

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Ian liked it anyway!

 


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