We used to have a fruit and veg down the road from where I worked and every Wednesday when the fresh Indian veg came in, I was there like what old Aunty, digging through the double beans and gadra beans looking for the good ones.
Then Covid hit and well the world closed in on itself and fruit and veg closed and moved away and you know me, I hate traffic, so I just stopped being one of those Aunties that stood in line for Indian veg.
My dad of course took this task upon himself, whenever he was in a store that had some sort of Indian veg, he would make sure that he brought home a bag full.
This past week my dad came home proud as punch with a calabash for me, most fathers bring their daughters flowers or chocolates, mine brings me a calabash. I mean a calabash of all things. I have never seen a calabash, never eaten calabash in my life, never cooked one, never even cleaned one before. I didn’t even know where to start. Lord I didn’t even know the top from the bottom.
I asked my parents for assistance, my mother told me straight I am not going to force feed her calabash, she doesn’t like it. My father all he could tell me was that you cook it like potatoe curry. Which wasn’t that helpful seeing as I add white dhal and peas to my potatoe curry and I don’t think you add that to calabash.
Anyway, I left this green oblong shaped vegetable in the fridge and I was just going to leave it there till everyone forgot about it and then come Friday, secretly slip it into the left over food bag to give at the robots, but alas the thing kept falling on my foot every time I opened the fridge.
A sign from the vegetable Gods that know in this exact moment would be the time to learn how to make calabash.
It seemed a very daunting thing, I had to you tube and google on how to peel the thing for starters, how many swipes from the vegetable peeler is enough I didn’t want to go to far and peel all the flesh away. Then when I cut it open, there was seeds to be removed and I had to found out how much is seeds and how much is flesh. Once it was cleaned and cut up, I then needed to know would it be okay to soak in water while I chop up the onions. Take okra for example, I soaked my cut up okra in water once and when I drained that water the okra became one slimy ball of something that can not be mentioned in public.
I said a few prayers and gave it the worlds quickest rinse and then said another prayer and set it aside.
I googled calabash curry and came up with this recipe. It was quick, easy to follow, a handful of basic pantry ingredients and it was literally just putting everything in the pot and cooking till soft.
The verdict, I kind of liked it, looking at the finished curry it did bring back vague memories of seeing this dish once before somewhere but if memory served me well that curry was sweet. My dad’s verdict it could do with more salt, other than that he was of zero help. My mother didn’t want to look at it because she saw me chopping up a tomato and you know her and her tomatoes.
All in all, I really hope my father reads this post and brings home another calabash, I am dying to try out a sweeter version of the curry.
- 1 x calabash, peeled and cleaned and chopped.
- 1 x onion, finely chopped.
- ½ x tsp mustard seeds.
- Salt to taste.
- ½ x tsp turmeric powder.
- 1 x sprig fresh curry leaves.
- 1 x tomatoe, chopped.
- 3 x tbsp olive oil.
- 2 x cloves garlic, roughly bashed.
- 2 x green chillies
- Heat the oil in a pot.
- Add the onions, mustard seeds, curry leaves and green chillies to the pot.
- Add the salt, give it a good stir and saute till the onions start to brown around the edges.
- Add the tomatoe, cover and allow to cook till the tomatoes break up. This should be about 10 minutes.
- Add the turmeric and calabash.
- Toss to mix everything together.
- Add enough water to cover the calabash pieces.
- Place the lid back on the pot and cook till the calabash is soft and the water has cooked away.