We spent last weekend at my parents place in Lincolnshire where Sundays are always simple and lazy. After our ritualistic pot of chai, masala omelettes and a good thumbing through of the Sunday papers, we went for a drive to Cleethorpes, our much loved but now downtrodden local seaside town.
Our family has filled up on good times here. Long walks collecting shells on the beach, eating pickled cockles, fish and chips and taking rides on donkeys and the snakey helter skelter.
But we came back home late and tired to an empty fridge, long after the shops had closed. I started ferreting around in the back of the cupboard while mum looked through her recipe books. This one sang out from a book of my grandma’s recipes. It is an old Gujarati dish, a corn-on-the-cob curry, traditionally cooked in a chickpea flour and yoghurt sauce, but amended to include peanuts after her many years living in Uganda.
It’s a rarity among Indian dishes too as it doesn’t include onions, ginger or garlic and can be cooked using ingredients found in a (an Indian) cupboard and freezer. Simultaneously sweet and savoury but clean and creamy – it’s just right for a Sunday evening.
Gujarati corn on the cob and peanut curry
- 875g or around 4 cobs, fresh or frozen and halved
- 100g peanuts, unsalted
- 50g gram flour (aka chickpea or besan flour)
- 4 tablespoons rapeseed oil
- 250ml Greek yoghurt
- 11/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and slip the corn in. If frozen, boil for around 6-8 minutes (if fresh 5 mins) then turn off the heat and leave as is. In the meantime, you can grind the peanuts either in a coffee/ spice grinder or food processor for best results or in a pestle and mortar to a fine consistency.
In a large lidded pan, heat the oil over a low to medium heat and when hot add the gram flour, stirring continuously to smooth any lumps and roast it slowly. After around four or five minutes, it should start to turn a pinkish brown – now add the ground peanuts and again stir for around five minutes then switch off the heat.
Add to the mix the yoghurt, salt, turmeric, chilli powder and sugar. Stir and add the sweetcorn. (Mum and my grandma like to hack each cob into 11/2 inch slices but this is lumber jack work to me so I will only halve them next time). Then put the pan over a medium heat and slowly ladle in the reserve up to around 600ml water, stirring to mix.
Once mixed, pop the lid on and leave to heat through for around 5 minutes until the sauce is the consistency of double cream then take off the heat and sprinkle over with fresh coriander. Serve in bowls either with rice, chapattis or just by itself.