Yes, beautiful people, I mean it. It’s not a typo. I mean “try,” not “fry.” Who am I to presume to attempt an authentic Indian recipe? I can only try. This is what happened. I was finally so consumed with curiosity that I made a trip to Fort Lauderdale and went on a treasure hunt at Patel Brothers store myself, rather than sending my husband. In addition to a huge produce section that contains all kinds of mysteries, there are several isles full of spices and other goodies, just as mysterious and fascinating. I must’ve spent two hours there, slowly exploring every shelf and consulting Internet on my phone.
As you walk in, you step into the fragrant and verdant world of vegetables. Right next to little cute egg-shape eggplants (I couldn’t resist getting a few!) and not far from my – by now – friends Tindora Ivy Gourds, there are these green thingies, a bit larger than Tindora, and with a pointed nose. The sign says Parval. As I am pulling it up on my phone, a beautiful young lady in a stunning electric blue outfit embroidered with gold, with a little girl, just as beautiful, in tow, comes to the same bin and starts selecting these pointy-nose veggies.
“Excuse me, – I had to use the opportunity! – could you tell what these are?”
“Ah, they are gourds, like those, – pointing at the bag of little tindies in my shopping cart, but different.”
“They are green potatoes, – disagrees the gentleman restocking the next section, – and you fry them.”
“You fry them, – agrees the young lady, and the little girl says, “Yum.” Or maybe “Mum” – I am not sure.
“You make Parval Sabzi,” – continues the gentleman, or maybe he says Parwal Sabji, I am not sure, – “but you take a veeerrry little tomato.”
“Very little tomato, – echoes the beautiful young lady, – or else you’ll have Masala.”
“Yum!” – clearly and distinctly says the little beauty, pulling her mother towards a display of sweets strategically located between the entrance and the produce section.
Not wanting to disrupt the gentleman busy with restocking (the store is doing brisk business, and restocking is conducted practically non-stop!), I am left at the mercy of Google. Another intrepid experiment is coming up!
Whether they are gourds or potatoes, and Google sites both opinions, the skin is pretty hard, and you have to scrape it, rather than peel it. So I scraped as much as I could and hoped for the best! I also scrubbed them as I washed them, just in case.
When I cut them lengthwise, as instructed by several Google sources, I found that some had bright yellow middle, soft, but with hard dark brown or black seeds. Yes, it definitely looked more gourd than potato. Those seeds had to be discarded, again, according to Google. Soft green seeds, however, would have to be left intact and supposedly will contribute to the taste. We’ll see! Meanwhile, when the halves are clean, cut each into 3 – 4 strips.
While I was doing all the cutting and washing and cleaning, I threw some yellow mustard seeds and some black coriander seeds on a very hot frying pan and covered it. In a couple of minutes I thought I heard something. I lifted the lid, and sure enough, they were dancing like Mexican jumping beans! That’s when I added my “veeerrry little tomato” and a pinch of cumin. Then I thought some grated ginger and turmeric would not hurt it either, so I added those as well. I cooked it on the same maximum heat for a couple of minutes, blending it together, then added my Parval strips.
You have to make sure they are coated well and are getting all the flavors. So you keep tossing and mixing for a couple of minutes, then you season them with Garam Masala and a pinch of salt, stir, cover, and leave them be for a few minutes, until they are soft. I sort of tried them a couple of times until I pronounced them ready. And ready they were! To quote the beautiful little girl, “Yum!”
I have no idea whether I really made Parval Sabzi, or Parwal Sabji (I found both spellings used interchangeably), and I am ready for my fellow bloggers who are true experts to laugh their heads off. But we thought it was delicious, and we loved it! And if you ask me why I used these spices and not some other spices, I won’t be able to tell you. After all, it’s a Try, not a Fry!
- 1/2 lb Parval
- 1 small tomato
- Pinch of yellow mustard seeds
- Pinch of black coriander seeds
- Pinch of cumin
- 1/2 thumb size fresh ginger
- 1/2 thumb size fresh white turmeric
- Garam Masala Powder to taste
- Salt to taste
- Scrape tough skin from Parval, wash and scrub. Cut in half lengthwise, scrape out and discard bright yellow middle and dark hard seeds. Leave pale green middle and seeds intact. Cut each half into 3 – 4 strips lengthwise.
- Preheat large frying pan to maximum, place mustard and coriander seeds on hot surface, cover. Sear for 2 – 3 minutes until they start jumping.
- Dice tomato, add to the pan. Add grated ginger and turmeric, add cumin, stir. Cook on high heat for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring constantly, to blend flavors.
- Add Parval stripes. Mix well to coat them with sauce. Season with salt and Garam Masala Powder. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for a few more minutes until soft.