Jimikanda Aau Jhurga Ke Amtaha

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If I have to introduce you to Chhattisgarhi cuisine, I would begin by bringing two diverse flavours together: amataha, or a sour burst on your tongue, and the flavour and texture of jimikanda, or elephant yam — the paneer of our palate. Jimikanda is the king of vegetables in our state, and graces the buffet on any occasion. Jimikanda Amtaha is a curd-based preparation, seasoned with traditional spices. It isn’t your comfort dish, but it's so beloved here that we even have a song about it! Here I share a family recipe, mostly prepared by the Brahmin community of Raipur.
Jimikanda 500 g
Tamarind 30-40 g
Lemon 1
Salt 2 tbsp
Garlic 12-14 cloves
Whole coriander seeds 3 tbsp
Rice 1 tbsp
Dried red chillies 3-4 pcs
Oil 1 tsp of any neutral flavored oil (I use sunflower oil)
Oil 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Curry leaves 10-12 pcs
Spice paste all of it
Turmeric powder 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Khatta dahi (sour curd) 500 g
Water 4.5-5 cups
Jhurga or lobia (cooked) 1 cup

Tools

You will need a mixer-grinder, a deep-bottomed pan or kadhai, a pressure cooker, and a few other utensils common to most kitchens.

Mise-en-place

Jimikanda

Pressure cook the jimikanda with tamarind, lemon, and salt for 3 or 4 whistles, 4 or 5 hours in advance. Jimikanda can cause itchiness, and these other ingredients help reduce this effect.

After it cools, peel it, and cut into small slices. Spread the slices on a tissue paper or newspaper, and let them dry for 4 or 5 hours.

 

Deep fry the jimikanda for 8 to 10 minutes, on high flame, until golden brown colour.

 

Jhurga

Soak the jhurga for 4 or 5 hours, and pressure cook it for 1 whistle with salt.

Spice mix

Lightly toast the whole spices in oil for 2 or 3 minutes, and blend them into a smooth paste with 4 or 5 tablespoons of water.

 

1

Heat oil in a large kadhai; add the mustard seeds, let them pop, and add curry leaves. 

2

Add the spice paste, and stir for 5 or 6 minutes on a medium flame.

3

Add salt, turmeric powder, and curd. Immediately add water, and keep stirring.

 

4

Let it boil for 5 minutes on a high flame, and add the deep-fried jimikanda and boiled jhurga and continue to cook for 8 to 10 minutes.

5

Now garnish the jimikanda aau jhurga ke amtaha with fresh coriander, and serve it with steamed rice.

 

Tips

As jimikanda is a tuber, wash it thoroughly to remove dirt.

 

You can also cook the tuber with guava leaves, to reduce itchiness. 

Variations (s)

You can also substitute sour curd with tomato paste; this variation is called jimikanda masalha.

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