I think it’s quite fitting that I’m writing this post in September, which is Heritage Month. We rounded up the cousins again this year for our third Kokni Cookout – a celebration of our kokni heritage with pukka kokni food, mostly….
This year we were hosted by my cousin Gulzar’s wife Rahdia at their home against Tygerberg hills with the most gorgeous natural landscape as a backdrop. Naturally creative, she had made an effort to dress up the table with casual elegance. More than what we have done in the past, I think it may have set the bar a little higher for next time. Our focus has always been on the food. We are a generation of young professional women and mums trying to live up to our mothers’ high culinary standards.
Our cousins’ Whatsapp group is often filled with the frustration of one of us not getting accurate quantities from her mum when trying to prepare a recipe. “what does ‘so ‘n bietjie’ (just a little bit) mean anyway?” is often ranted into the group. Sympathy is prolific as we can all identify with that line or variations thereof. This annual tradition that started 2 years ago is a great way for us to keep up the traditional dishes that underpins our heritage of India. Fresh fish dishes and the use of coconut in many of our curries is typical of our ancestral riverside village of Kalusta. A laid back and relaxed place where you can still imagine hammocks swinging gently in the trees and paunchy middle aged men taking evening walks in their “lungi and west” (lungi being a piece of fabric men wear wrapped around the lower body like a straight skirt, and a vest).
While we’re not big on the fashion of the “ghow” (village), we are true to the food culture. Or as true as a busy lifestyle and modern conveniences have made it for us to be. There’s certainly no need to grate fresh coconut or make coconut milk from scratch anymore. But one cannot compromise on everything. Homemade aala lasoon (garlic and ginger paste) is everything. Our mothers had beat that into us a long time ago.
I did a bit of a tri-colore, so I could try a bit of everything 😀
Masala fried fish is a perfect accompaniment to a vegetarian curry.
Khurri Khichri is a absolute staple.
Our kokni table included the absolute must haves, Khurri Khitchri, Zoenko, Sore che Chutney, masala fried fish, Oeloni, fried kuite (fish roe) and more. My cousins were kind enough to share some of their recipes so I can share them with you. Cashew Nut curry, when I posted it on Instagram piqued many people’s interest so I will share that recipe as well as Sore che Chutney, a dish made with toasted coconut chutney and small dried prawns but in today’s recipe with normal prawns and Zoenko which is a smooth spicy and sour curry… my mouth waters begins to water even as I write….
Naju’s Cashew Nut Curry
Recipe credit: Najmunisa Parker
Rahdia’s mother in law Naju, shared her recipe for this dish which is always a winner.
1 cup raw unsalted Cashew Nuts soaked in boiling water for an hour
1 Tbsp Coconut heaped
2 tsp ground Barishap (fennel)
4 cloves Garlic
1 tsp Chilli powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 med Onion, finely sliced
1 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Coconut cream
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
Dry roast together the coconut and barishap till light brown. Liquidise this with the garlic and enough hot water to cover. Pour into a bowl and add the chilli and turmeric (or this can be added when liquidising).
Use a wide pot and melt butter over medium heat. Braise onion till light brown. Add masala and water and allow to boil to desired consistency.
Now add cashews and boil for about 5 or 10 minutes till cashews feel soft.
Add coconut cream and about 1/2 tsp salt at the end. Allow to just come to the boil and remove from heat.
Sore che Chutney
Recipe credit: Asgaree Dalvi
This dish is a love it or hate it kind of dish. Those dried little prawns that people bring from India wrapped tightly but that still make your luggage smell, is not everyone’s cup of tea. Asgeree has opted to use prawns instead. I like the original fishiness of the dried sore but the prawns work well too.
1 cup fine dessicated coconut
2-3 heaped tablespoons crushed dried red chillies (depending on strength of chillies)
1 heaped tsp Salt
1 heaped tbs garlic paste
Toast coconut in dry pan till light brown. Add chillies and toast further till fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Once cooled, add to grinder with remaining ingredients (salt and garlic) grind to a fine but loose consistency.
800g pkt of shelled prawns
5-6 large onions, sliced (but not too thin as it will diminish when cooking)
3 medium sized potatoes cut into cubes
1/3 to half a cup of oil
Drain prawns well and pat dry with paper towels. In a large flat pot, heat about quarter cup of oil, then add prawns and 1 heaped tbs of the chutney.
Cook until prawns change colour, then add cubed potatoes and add more chutney to taste. Allow to cook till potatoes start to soften.
Then add remaining oil, onions and another heaped tbs of the chutney. Cook till onions are soft and brown, stirring often. Dont cover pot.
Depending on your preference and strength of chutney more can be added during the cooking process.
Find Asgeree’s recipe for Chicken and Corn Lagan here.
Recipe credit: Shanaaz Rawoot
This thick yellow curry with it’s sour kick is best served over plain white rice with a side of fried masala fish and paapar.
1 meduim Onion
2 Tbsp Ghobra lasoon (coconut and garlic chutney*)
1 tsp Tumeric
Chilli powder to taste
1 tsp Bariship powder (fennel)
2 tsp Jeera powder (cumin)
Salt to taste
Warm 2 full tbsp of dessicated coconut in a pan till a slightly ‘off white’ colour (not brown).
Allow to cool. Add 1 full desert spoon crushed garlic and grind till fine.
Make a thin paste with:
2Tbsp chana flour and water……. set aside. To this add 3-4 pieces of kokum or tamarind.
Braise the onion in a little oil, till soft and translucent.
Add ghobra lasoon mixture together with the spices.
Add 1 1/2 cups of water and boil for 15mins.
Now slowly add the chana flour paste, while stirring the curry, for a smooth consistency.
Boil for a further 5 mins.
More water can be added if u prefer a ‘thinner’ curry.
These dense Tasty wheat cakes are one of my faves and perfect with the elachi tea we had after lunch. We enjoyed some sparkles with some Zari as well.
A little bit off theme, but these gold dusted chocolate strawberries were dreamy…
And this is us. A little crazy, a little loud, but always lotsa fun.
Read about last year’s Kokni Cookout with different recipes here.