Monday, 4 February 2013

"Kooka Song" - A Konkani delicacy or Chinese Potatoes in Spicy coconut gravy

"Kook" as the konkani's call it , is also known as Chinese Potatoes in English or "Sambrani gadde" in Kannada.
It is a smaller version of potato that grows mostly in Northern Kerala and parts of Coastal Karnataka in India. Karkala is famous for "Kook" and we get the best "Kook" from Karkala in the Autumn months till late February. It takes some time for a novice to get used to the muddy smell of "Kook"!
These potatoes are widely grown all over China and mostly used in Chinese salads.
This "Kook" is loved by the konkani community, and this dish is one of the most famous of the "Kook" dishes. "Kook" is also used in many coconut based gravy dishes along with different kinds of beans/lentils.

Serves 3

"Kook" or "Kooka" or Chinese potatoes or Sambrani gadde/roots - 250 gms

Grated coconut/desiccated coconut - 1 cup
Fried dry red chillies - 4 (non spicy variety)
Onions finely chopped - 1
Tamarind - 1 small piece
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp

Peel the "Kooka" and cut them into tiny strips lengthwise. If they are too tiny, the best way would be to put a handful or more of them into a cloth or polythene bag, and lightly/gently hit the bag to the ground or a flat surface. Most of the skin comes out easily. The rest can be removed by using a peeler.
Wash well, drain and keep aside. 

Steam the "kooka" in steamer or cooker for about 10 mins.
Grind fresh or desiccated coconut, along with red chilies, tamarind and 1 cup water to form a smooth paste and keep aside. 
Now take a heavy bottomed vessel, put the coconut paste along with the "kooka" and start boiling on low heat.
Meanwhile, take a seasoning pan or small shallow pan, add oil and fry the finely chopped onions till golden brown. Now pour the onion seasoning over the boiling "kooka" and coconut gravy and bring to boil. Mix well.
Serve hot with puris or rice.

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