Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Khari With Smoked Meat

Khari with smoked meat, hyacinth beans & brinjal
Khari is a term that is synonymous with Dimasa food. Vegetables, fermented fish, some heat from chillies, and garnishes in the form of fresh herbs, crushed garlic or grated ginger come together to create a dish that only asks for a plate of rice. Well, maybe another accompaniment. The most-used herbs are bahanda from the basil family and bakhor which is serrated coriander. But khari with smoked meat or smoked fish can be one-pot wonders. The meat in this case enhances the taste of the dish so you don't need as much meat as you would use for regular meat curry.
A much-loved combo for khari
The combination of vegetables can be varied. The picture above shows hyacinth beans, brinjal, and green tomatoes. Our cooler months would be incomplete without such a dish on our tables. The picture below shows ash gourd and pumpkin. These two vegetables are good enough on their own but the addition of smoked meat takes this khari to another level.
Ash gourd & pumpkin (left) & smoked pork

Khari with black lentils and smoked pork

Khari with smoked pork, ash gourd, pumpkin, leafy greens & hyacinth beans
Smoked pork cut into bite-size pieces
Unripe pumpkin cut into 1" pieces (leave the skin on)
Ash gourd, peel and cut like pumpkin
8-10 chillies scored lengthwise, seeds left intact
A bunch of leafy greens (amaranth, lai or the tender leaves of pumpkin and bottle gourd)
A handful of hyacinth beans (string and cut/tear off into pieces not much bigger than the size of the meat)
Alkali, according to the quantity of the khari (1 tbsp is enough if you are cooking for 4-5 people)
3-4 green tomatoes (red tomatoes can also be used)
2-3 fermented fish
Salt to taste
Crushed garlic or herbs like bahanda/bakhor for the garnish

  • Heat some water in a pan and add the meat pieces.
  • Let it come to the boil before adding the chillies.
  • After ten minutes or so add the ash gourd as it takes the longest to cook compared to the other vegetables named in the ingredients.
  • When the ash gourd is nearly done, add the rest of the vegetables. The leaves can be added a little later.
  • Add the alkali and  cook till the khari looks almost done.
  • The fermented fish can go in now. Cook for a few more minutes.
  • Remove from the flame and garnish with the herbs of your choice or with crushed garlic.
About the measurements of the ingredients, it's a handful of everything. The meat here will a quarter of the entire amount of the combined ingredients. Foraging in the garden is one of the joys of making a dish like this. There needn't be just one type of leafy vegetable. When I was a child my mother tended a garden of abundance and it was always a treat to walk about with a basket picking the best and freshest produce. No wonder the food always tasted so good!!

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