In my initial days of cooking, I had a hard time to find out the difference between zucchini and cucumber in farmers market. I have never seen zucchini in India and my mom never cooked it. Many time, I landed with couple of zucchini for cucumber raita. Later, I realized the zucchini has a "crown" on top and cucumber plain at both end !
Posing in the market shelf with an attractive vibrant shine, I picked those tomatillos - thinking of heirloom variety: green tomato(unripe one). Those tomatillos were enrobed in paper like husk. That is a big visual difference between green tomato and tomatillos. Another fruit landed mistakenly in my kitchen but felt in love with the distant tangy flavor.
As California have a large Hispanic population, tomatillos are widely available in our usual grocery stores. It is a key ingredient in Latino cuisine. Usually referred as Tomate Verde/Green tomato:Spanish. Of course all the green sauce and Salsa verde are staple in Mexican Cuisine.
The fruit is wrapped with the husk once you peel it is slightly sticky in the surface. It is shiny, firm and the inside is hard not like tomatoes where you end up with the juice running all over the cutting board . And the main part, the fruit has a tart flavor- with a first bite guaranteed for special effect in your ears!
I am the lone indivual in my house who eats tangy stuff ! No way salsa verde can please their palate. Only option was the chutney and thought the coconut and spice should cut down the tangy taste of fruit. It tasted similar to the Green mango chutney!
Known under various name:husk tomato, jamberry, husk cherry, Mexican tomato, or ground cherry
Tomatillos: 2 medium/ washed/ wiped and sliced
Coconut: 1/4 cup
Green chilies: 4 to 5 counts
Ginger root: 1 tsp -grated or even peeled-diced
Salt: as per taste
Oil: 1 tsp to roast the tomatillos
Oil: 1 tsp
Mustard and urad dhal: 1/2 tsp each
Curry leaves: few
Hing: a pinch
Rinse the tomatillos and wipe them in kitchen cloth. Will help remove the slight stickiness.
Heat a pan with oil and roast tomatillos, green chilies and ginger n medium heat. The fruit will soften and ooze out the water. Apparently the tanginess is reduced in cooking process!
Let it cool completely, add the coconut and ground into coarse consistency or even paste.
Do the seasoning.
In different small pan, heat oil, start with hing followed by mustard and urad dhal, when they start to pop. Switch off and add the curry leaves.
Now mix the ground ingredients and seasoning together. Serve as a dip for hot idlis, dosa or even rice.
How to buy?
Select the vibrant green . The fruit should fill the husk when it is fully matured.
How to store?
Keep well for 2 weeks in the fridge, if you remove the husk and seal in plastic bags, can be forgotten for longer period!
Navrathri starts from today onwards. A nine day celebration for the Goddess Durga.
Navrathri Greetings to my Readers