A blade shines in the darkest of the nights
This month, the 4 Velveteers picked an easy challenge theme: 'Fruit' as in fruits fruits not the vegetables that are technically speaking fruits (so hold off your tomatoes). To spice up the challenge, it had to be a savoury dish. If fruit salad comes to your mind immediately, strike that out - it's the forbidden dish of the game. Ha Ha! We thought of everything.
For this month's challenge, I thought of making something with pineapple or mango or jackfruit or apples. Pierre kindly suggested Pineapple Rice but I have already posted that 3 years ago and have also done a simple stir-fry Pineapple Prawns, Coriander Pork with Pineapples and Rolled Roasted Pork with Dried Fruits . On top of that, my mom has been cooking pineapple savoury dish lately so I don't think my whole family wanted to eat another pineapple dish. Now jackfruit: the taste and texture is rather special. When I was a little girl and we were still living in a kampung (village), my mom used to cook this delicious jackfruit curry often, however that practically stopped once we moved to a housing flat. The last time she cooked this dish was back in the late 80s! The other childhood dish that I fondly remembered is green papaya curry. My mom used to cook it very often too as papaya plants were aplenty in our front and back garden. Back in the old days, a childhood friend of mine used to climb up our papaya plant to pluck the fruit for me. And she was very fast & agile too. I often wondered even till this day, how she managed to do that. I think if I ever climb one, I will snap it into two! For the life of me, I can't even climb a tree least a plant to save my life.
So I asked my mom to show me how to make this dish, however for some odd reason we couldn't find any green papaya in the markets nearby. In the end, we settled for one that looks the greenest among the sea of ripe papayas. My mom learnt how to cook this Green Papaya Curry from my paternal grandmother who used to make lots of delicious nonya dishes.
Before we proceed to the recipe, here are some information about papaya:
Green papayas are usually cooked in curries, stew or eaten as salads. Choose papayas with reddish-orange skin and that are slightly soft to the touch if you are eating it on the day of purchase. A few black spots on the surface are ok as they will not affect the taste. However avoid those that are bruised or overly soft. Store ripe papayas in the refrigerator and eat it within a day or two. For those that are green with some yellow patches, leave them at room temperature and they'll ripen in a few days. To speed up the ripening process, place them in a paper bag with a banana. (yeah, really!)
Very aromatic with the sweet-spicy pepperish taste of coconut milk gravy. The papaya slices were cooked just right - not too soft and I could still taste the slight flavour of the papaya.
For a spicy taste, you can replace pepper with one or two long red or green chili (deseed). Just cook it together with the paste.
The 4 Velveteers
The 4 Velveteers (started by Pamela, Aparna, Asha, and Alessio) are a group of food bloggers, who are passionate about a new dish/ style of cooking/ cuisine and food in general. Each month, we will share with you our recipes, experiences & verdicts on our blogs. If you are interested in joining The 4 Velveteers! in our monthly adventure, please feel free to drop by our food blogs and leave a comment.
Do, check out what other Velveteers have created:
Alessio - Recipe Taster
Aparna - My Diverse Kitchen with her Eggless Vegetable Nut Loaf with sweet
Asha - Fork, Spoon & Knife
Ken - Hungry Rabbit NYC with his Skillet Roasted Sweet n Sour Pork
Madhuli - My Food Court with her Raw banana Cutlets & mix fruit chutney
Last weekend our whole family was hit by gastric flu. What a torture! It was the first time Little One got sick (poor baby) but amazingly she fought it off rather well and recovered from it very quickly. While she was on the mend, I caught the bad bug and was violently sick (I thought I had it bad). Luckily Pierre was still ok then so he could look after Little One. Then as I got over the worst, it was Pierre's turn to be sick to the gut. Unfortunately for him, the virus hit him the hardest (I have never seen him in that shade of gray). The next day, both of us were lifeless, while our little darling had her energy back and went on trashing the whole house. We have never been hit by an actual tornado, but now I have an idea of how it would look like afterwards.
I made this pie a day or two before all of us fell sick (rest assured that the two events are totally unrelated). There were some leftover old apples and over-riped bananas on the table (as usual). I didn't want to make another apple/banana pie so decided to add some pineapples in it to give it a more exotic taste. Then I thought why not a coconut crumble top - it would go very well with it. Originally I wanted to use a plain pie crust but was inspired to make a nutty pie crust for a change. All those ideas combined this over-the-top recipe :
Hazelnut Pie Crust (variation over a classic sweet pie crust)
Hazelnut Pie Crust
The whole pie itself tasted not bad at all - it has a different taste at each bite : sometimes apple/banana and other times pineapple/apple or banana. I was expecting a tangy and strong pineapple taste but was rather disappointed with the weak pineapple flavour. Pierre felt that I didn't put in enough pineapple whereas I felt that I should have used fresh pineapple instead of canned ones (but I had an old can lying around).
Adding the dark chocolate wasn't a wise choice as we found out that it overwhelmed the whole taste of the pie whenever we took a bite that has chocolate in it. So it's best to omit it.
As noted above, it would have tasted better if I had used fresh pineapple and the juice of the pineapple for the syrup spread instead.
For the crumble, it would have been better to just use only grated coconut sans flour.