In part 2 of 3 of Indian Food Ingredients travel video episode, I take you through some other ingredients with Chef Bidu from Malabar House and we discuss how each of the ingredients tastes and how he uses them in his Indian cooking in the restaurant.
Some of the the more unusual ingredients is a vegetable called the Rum Stick with is a stringy long green vegetable that has a similar flavour to zucchini, yet there is an outer layer of the vegetable that is inedible and when I first tried this Indian food ingredient, I tried eating it all and it was extremely bitter and undigestible. Once realising that the soft inner part of the vegetable is quite sweet and much like a squash, you need to open the skin and strip the inner flesh with your teeth. These can be found in many Indian samba’s and curries, just watch out for them if you think they are a zucchini.
The next Indian food ingredient was bananas, which are readily available throughout Indian. There were many varieties of banana that I had seen before, until Bidu introduced me to the King of Bananas. The red banana which is the most expensive of all the bananas at this Indian food market. It tasted like a banana ice cream because the flesh was so smooth and sweet. It had the texture of mousse and I now know what they call it the king of bananas. I will have to try and seek these bananas out when I get back to Australia as I can see it in many different desserts I could prepare.
The next fruit I try is a Guava fruit which is sold very ripe and also very under ripe and green. When it is served green it is used in the same way a green mango is prepared and accompanied by spices, chilli and also a sweet and sour dipping sauce. I don’t particularly like Guava fruit but Elise loves it and kindly stepped out from behind the camera to finish it off for me. Guava fruit is great in smoothies and drinks and perfect when mixed with other fruits such as bananas or apples. Chef Bidu uses Guava fruit in a reduction sauce for one of his desserts on the menu at Malabar house.
I tend not to like fruit that is smooth and has a baby food type of texture just like Custard Apple. This is one of Elise’s favourite fruits and she was drooling over it from behind the camera. I had a few pieces before I handed it over for Elise to devour. Custard apple tastes exactly as it named, it has a smooth texture and is best eaten when the outer skin is soft to press and extremely ripe. You need to eat, in and around the large stones throughout the fruit and it does make a nice addition for many desserts, drinks and other Indian Food dishes.
We also tried a fruit called Chicos which is one of my favourite tropical fruits. I have tried this once before when I was in Cairns Australia and loved it. It is almost like eating dried apricots and has a sweet fermented flavour. The perfect fruit to mix with liquors and brandy for desserts. I could eat this fruit all day!
We had almost finished our day but Chef Bidu had one more suprise for us and took us down to where he gets the fish that he uses for the restaurant. He is extremely strict on the freshness of the produce that is used at Malabar House and he describes that he gets the fish on a daily basis from theses markets and personally selects the fish.