RCI: Karnataka ~ Hearts of Palm Karie

hearts of palmΒ karie
hearts of palm karie ~ taste treat from Karnataka!

Thank you all for your kind comments and notes of encouragement. It’s been a crazy and often frightening week to say the least, but it seems the worst is over. Onward and upward!

Happily tonight there was enough time to cook a little something for
RCI: Karnataka, hosted by none other than our dear Asha. Of course, I couldn’t miss it πŸ™‚ Thankfully I started reading and googling long before the deadline!
Now Asha, I didn’t have much time to double-check myself, so please correct me if I got anything mixed up πŸ™‚

A quick browse shows everyone has cooked up such wonderful traditional dishes — I wanted to try a little something different. I searched and searched. Finally I found a small, unique collection of Kodava recipes. The Kodava people, with their fascinating history, are primarily from the district of Kodagu (Coorg) in southwest Karnataka. The district capital is Madikeri, and in the surrounding area you can visit many lovely sights including Abbi and Irpu Falls, Bhagamandala Temple at the juncture of three rivers, and the headwaters of our hostess’ special river, the Cauvery.

My favorite part of reading about Karnataka was the scenery. One look at these pictures of Brahmagiri area, between Kerala and Kodagu, and it is easy to see why Kodagu is called Scotland of India.

You can read more about Kodava history and traditions here.

~~~

The recipe that caught my eye was Kamb Karie, calling for plantain tree cortex! Now, I don’t have a plantain tree, but if you’re lucky enough to have one, here is how you can prepare the traditional ingredient for this recipe:

“When you cut a plantain tree after the plantain bunch is full grown, you take the central core which is long, smooth, white gird known as Cortex. Scrape it fine with a sharp scraper. put this into a vessel containing water and stir it brusquely with a lemon tree’s branch (because this branch is made up of many thorns). This brusque stirring with circular motion removes all long thread. This process must continue until all thread like substance is removed fairly well. Drain off the water. Wash it again and this is ready for cooking”.
source: Mrs. B N Aiyappa, Hakathur Village

Here is what I used instead πŸ˜‰

hearts of palm from a can
hearts of palm from a can — soak in fresh water to remove citric acid

~~~

Hearts Of Palm Karie
adapted from Kamb Karie by Mrs. B N Aiyappa, Hakathur Village

For the hearts of palm:

14-16 oz canned or bottled hearts of palm
(slice and soak in plenty of fresh water to remove citric acid taste)
1 tsp sambhar powder
1 tsp tamarind juice (I used a little tamcon mixed with water for this)
few saffron threads
pinch salt

For the paste:

2/3 c grated coconut
(I bought dried coconut chips this last time, and they work so much better for paste. Just soak the chips in little water before grinding. It’s much closer to fresh than the tiny dessicated bits)
1 medium onion, diced fine
2 green chiles
3-4 curry leaves

Following Mrs. Aiyappa’s instructions for the paste, this should be: “finely ground smooth paste of half a coconut with finely cut onions and curry leaves added just at the end of grinding in the mixie so as to not allow onions and curry leaves to disintegrate completely”.

For the seasoning:

1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tomato, diced fine
2 dried red chiles, broken
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 curry leaves

~~~

ingredients for hearts of palm karie
ingredients for hearts of palm karie, clockwise from top left: soaked and drained hearts of palm mixed with dry masala, tamarind and saffron; fresh coconut/onion/chile paste; tadka of cumin, mustard, dried red chiles and curry leaves; chopped tomatoes and garlic

Drain the hearts of palm and discard soaking water. Mix them with a few crushed saffron threads, sambhar powder, tamarind juice and a little salt (if you’re using canned or bottled hearts of palm, watch the extra salt).

Grind the paste as directed above.

In a small saucepan, heat canola oil and over med-high. Splutter the mustard and cumin seeds, then add tomatoes, garlic, red chiles and a few curry leaves. Stir well, then add the hearts of palm mixture.
Add the ground paste and a little water (I used about 1/2 c). Bring to a boil and stir well. Lower the heat and cook 10-15 minutes, till the raw taste of coconut and chiles has disappeared and the fragrance beckons you to taste. Don’t worry, it won’t take long! Check the seasoning, adding more tamarind or salt if necessary. I am accustomed to countering tart tamarind with sweet jaggery ~ in this recipe the lingering sweetness from coconut was enough to balance.

~~~

I usually eat hearts of palm cold, in salads. The saffron and tomato mixed with coconut and chiles gave this dish a totally new taste sensation.
It was quite rich, so I had it with plain rice. The gravy soaked into the rice and made for a very special supper.

Thanks Asha, I had alot of fun looking for this and learned alot! I will be cooking more with hearts of palm — at least until I can get a plantain tree! πŸ˜‰

hearts of palm karie
hearts of palm karie ~ kodava dish from Mrs. B N Aiyappa

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17 Comments »

  1. bindiya said

    how very unusual, have never tried this , am sure must be delicious!

    Hi Bindiya, it was tasty with all that coconut for sure πŸ™‚

  2. Suganya said

    First of all Linda, Thanks for not making this yet another ‘curry’. I like karie :). Sadly, hearts of palm doesnt taste at all like the real banana stem. I prefer banana stem to palm :(. May be this ‘karie’ will allow me to appreciate hearts of palm.

    Hi Suganya, I have never seen a banana stem for sale here — I can get banana blossoms though! I guess hearts of palm wouldn’t be the same — I’d like to try the real deal some time πŸ™‚

    I liked the “karie” too — have never seen that word!

  3. sia said

    u r amazing linda and i am kind of getting tired of writing the same thing again and again πŸ˜‰
    i agree with suganya, the real banana stem tastes lots better than canned hearts of palm. it gives a nice crunch. i got to try kaire now after reading ur post.

    Hi Supriya, I’m going to have to visit you so you can show me banana stem! πŸ˜‰ The hearts of palm actually can be kind of crunchy too, usually the outside part is crunchy and the interior is softer. Thanks for your kind words πŸ™‚

  4. Asha said

    Linda sweetie, you went straight to my heart with a Kodava dish! I am a daughter of Cauvery!:))

    I know you are not feeling well and super busy, so I appreciate you taking time to research,write and cook for me. I myself have not cooked with Banana stem, so Hearts of Palm suits me fine, may Artichoke too. Looks delicious, thank you.Hugs.

    Hi Asha, I am fine now, thanks — just things got a little crazy for awhile! I bet this would be yummy with artichoke hearts too, good idea! I’m so happy you enjoyed the Kodava post — I hoped you would. Hugs to you dear, can’t wait for the gigantic round up! πŸ˜‰

  5. indosungod said

    Linda, glad to see you back cooking up a storm, absolutely wonderful, learned something new , banana stem was not one of my favorites but it is supposed to be full of health benefits. Have never tasted heart of palms, time to give both a shot.

    Hi ISG, it’s nice to be back too, thanks πŸ™‚ If you find any banana stem let me know. I’ve never seen one here. Hearts of palm are nice on their own with a salad — for cooking like this I would definitely soak out the citric acid though πŸ™‚

  6. sandeepa said

    Linda beautiful post. Hope everything gets fine with the karie.

    Thank you Sandeepa — one day at a time things are looking up πŸ™‚

  7. mandira said

    Linda, so good to see you back with a wonderful recipe. I love your enthusiasm and learn something new everytime I come by your blog. Hope things are becoming better. Don’t forget JFI is right ahead πŸ™‚ Take care, hugs!

    Thanks so much Mandira — I’m glad you enjoyed this. I really had fun researching it. I didn’t forget about JFI — wracking my banana brains! πŸ˜‰ Have you had time to get out and explore more? I have to get back and read your blog. Hugs to you! πŸ™‚

  8. TBC said

    Linda,
    You continue to amaze me with every new post .:-)
    I’ve cooked with banana blossoms before (an absolute disaster), but have not tried using this.

    Thank you TBC! I tried one banana blossom dish way back when… would like to try again sometime πŸ™‚

  9. bee said

    linda, you should visit coorg once. the women there wear so much gold, it’s not funny. and they are very pretty, like the scenery. loved your post and recipe.

    Thanks Bee. I would love to visit all of India some day… gotta get the kids grown up first! πŸ˜‰

  10. meeso said

    This looks amazing, that picture is so appetizing! I would love to have eaten some of that!!!

    Thank you Meeso — I’m so pleased you liked it! πŸ™‚

  11. shammi said

    You constantly surprise me, Linda, did you know? It’s such a pleasure to read your posts because of your imagination and enthusiasm πŸ™‚ I would just love to meet you some day! (How far away from NY are you?) πŸ™‚

    Shammi, you’re making me smile here — did you know you were one of my very first inspirations!? But I am sure I have told you that πŸ™‚ I’d love to meet you too, wouldn’t that be fun! You just let me know when you’re coming to NY — I’m not all that far πŸ™‚

  12. sharmi said

    never heard of this veggie. looks and sounds real good. do we find them in Indian stores?

    Hi, and thanks, Sharmi — I’ve never looked for hearts of palm in the Indian stores ’cause I get them in the regular grocery. They are usually imported from South America. Look in the canned veggie section, top shelf or unusual veggies etc. The bottled are more expensive and not as crisp.

  13. Vani said

    What a unique curry, Linda! I lived close to Coorg and never even knew of this. You’re amazing to come up with this very different and delicious sounding recipe! I’m sure it tasted as good as it looks! πŸ™‚

    Hi Vani — where did you live near Coorg? I am so interested in the whole geography thing now, thanks to RCI πŸ™‚ Saffron/coconut/chiles was definitely a yummy combination πŸ™‚

  14. Delite said

    Wow Linda that looks Awesome!! I import fresh hearts of palm from my family farm in Costa Rica, and I love Indian Food I can’t wait to use my fresh palm in your recipe. (the banana stem sounds interesting as well). I will definately let you know how it turns out. Thanks for the fabulous recipe.

    Fresh Regards~Delite

    Hi Delite, please let me know if you have a source for banana/plantain stem in eastern US πŸ™‚

  15. Cynthia said

    I’ve never had hearts of palm, what is the texture like?

    Hi Cynthia — they are different depending on the brand and packaging — canned (less expensive) seems to be crisper and more fibrous than bottled (more expensive). They all have a firmer texture on the outer part, softer inside. I can’t really compare it to any other vegetable I’ve had — it’s rather unique, but delicious! Try sometime and let me know what you think. They come here to the US from South America — I’d be interested to hear whether you can get them in Barbados. πŸ™‚

  16. musy said

    This is marvellous! It must have tasted really delicious! I like the banana stems a lot-they have such a great texture! Where did you find hearts of palm, btw! Never seen them in the stores here.

    I wish I knew where to get a banana stem! You can get hearts of palm in the regular grocery store, usually in canned veggie section by the asparagus, or sometimes if the store has a south american/latin section, can find it there. But remind me where you are, Musy πŸ™‚

  17. musy said

    PS: that was me (musical), Linda πŸ™‚

    I guessed from your blog, and I love the new nickname! πŸ™‚

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