Recipe Source: Baljekar, Mridula. Best Ever Curry Cookbook. Anness Publishing, London, 2005 p. 108
Can you say "impulse buy?" I went to the Brookline Farmers' Market a few weeks ago and saw a celery root. I've seen a lot of recipes for celery root before, but I had never seen one for sale. I therefore did the only thing a reasonable person would do under the circumstances, and that's put one in my basket. Eventually, I paid for it and brought it home, where it sat. It sat for a while. I needed to get it out of my refrigerator last Sunday, so I decided to cook it up. Unfortunately all my inspiration seemed to have dried up! I found this recipe for potatoes. I know that I've seen a lot of recipes for celeriac puree that seem to treat the vegetable like a potato. If it acts like a potato in that context, why not in another?
Other than the whole celeriac-potato changeout, I did make a few other changes to the recipe. I didn't measure out the chilies because I was expressing myself artistically (read: I forgot and confused the chilies with another recipe, which wanted three chilies and not one full ounce of chilies.) I doubled the garlic. I didn't have tamarind juice on hand, but I did have tamarind concentrate. While I used the full four tablespoons, I'm going to strongly suggest that you use two tablespoons, unless you like very powerful, very sour flavors. I omitted the sugar on general principles and I couldn't find my curry leaves so I omitted them. While the sauce was very strongly flavored, I have to say that the flavor of the celery root still came through very clearly.
Celery Root in Chili-Tamarind Sauce (serves 4; approx. $0.95/serving)
1 celery root, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 dried red chilies
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
8 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
- Mini-prep food processor
- Put the celery root pieces into the saucepan and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil and cook until the pieces are tender. You should be able to insert a sharp knife into a chunk and have it come out cleanly, without the chunk disintegrating.
- Drain the celery root and douse thoroughly with cold water to stop the cooking.
- Soak the chilies for about 5 minutes in warm water.
- Drain the chilies and transfer them to the mini-prep.
- Add the cumin, garlic, tomato paste and tamarind and grind to a paste.
- Heat the oil in the saucepan.
- Add the spice paste and cook until the oil starts to separate out from the paste. Stir constantly; you don't want this to burn.
- Add the asafoetida and the celery root pieces. Stir to coat, cover and simmer 5 minutes.