Continuing the effort to take Indian flavours and try and twist them, my latest experiment saw me take a very classic Marathi vegetable dish – vatanyachi usal (spiced green peas) and pair it with the flavours of the classic after dinner mouth freshener cum digestive…paan (Betel leaf rolls filled with rose petal jam, fennel seeds, betel nut and lots of other goodies)
Strange plate fellows these two dishes, you say? I agree. But I felt like eating vatanyachi usal on this particular evening, since my mom was in Singapore. And she had arrived with a bottle of gulkand (rose petal jam) which also I wanted to try as soon as possible.
So, let’s start with the pea pancakes – a simple batter made with pureed green peas, cream, eggs and spiced with cumin, curry leaves, green chillies, turmeric and a little salt – the same spices used to make the original dish, but excluding fresh grated coconut. The batter was a bit thick and mushy and resulted in extremely soft and delicate pancakes! Simply yum.
What did I do with the rose petal jam….I discovered I had a nice piece of bacon in the fridge. Inspiration struck and I decided to take some of the spices used in making paan and created a marinade of rose petal jam, toasted and ground fennel seeds and cloves (used in making paan in South India). The marinade was sweet and fragrant and actually tasted damn good. So in went the bacon, 1-2 hours in the fridge and then into a hot pan, followed by a spell roasting in the oven. Et voila! After cooking and roasting, the rose-flavour was a bit diluted which is probably better since it might have been a bit too sweet.
Learning for next time – continue to make both, but perhaps serve them with other accompaniments 😉