Monday, June 9, 2014

Rhubarb

It almost seems  mandatory to write about Rhubarb and to be excited about it  when early summer rolls around.  You might wonder, and  rightly so, what  the big fuss about this humble - vegetable? fruit?  is. It is hard even to classify it - the pinkish stalks of a plant. It can't be that everyone is excited about its tartness. I think it is something bigger: The humble Rhubarb is the harbinger of summer's bounty and that is why it is given this warm welcome. I will admit, reader that I too hold the Rhubarb dear - I consider it a good omen to start off preserving season with Rhubarb.
So what does one do with Rhubarb? other than pie. The most creative ideas I have come across from some of my favorite blogs.
- Mousse
-Scones
-Marmalade
or embrace the tartness and pickle those stalks (which I am dying to do)
I bought the Rhubarb because I told myself it was tradition and with lofty aims to make these strawberry - rhubarb crisp bars. But the week went by and the stalks languished in the fridge. Left with 2.5 stalks of salvageable Rhubarb and 3 ripe tomatoes, I made this tomato - rhubarb sandwich spread/chutney/whatchamacallit.
Tomato Rhubarb Chutney - desi shtyle

2.5 stalks of Rhubarb cut into thin pieces
3 tomatoes diced
A thumb sized knob of ginger cut into matchsticks
1 tsp of canola oil
pinch of turmeric
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of hing
pinch of fenugreek powder
3 dried red chilies
1/2 - 1 tsp of chili powder
To taste
- salt
- tamarind or lime juice

Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds and the dry red chiliies. When the mustard splutters, add the hing and the fenugreek powder. Stir for half a minute. Now add the diced Rhubarb, the ginger and the tomatoes. Add a little salt and a splash of turmeric and the chilli powder. Continue to saute on a medium flame until the tomatoes break down fully and oil starts to leave the sides. Taste the chutney. Adjust the salt. If the chutney is not tart enough add about a 1/4 tsp of tamarind concentrate or juice of half a lime.

This made about 2 pint jars of chutney that lasted in the fridge for about 3 weeks.


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