A delectable North Indian vegetarian recipe for a fruity, healthy curry made with ripe figs, and just a few spices.
- 6 large ripe figs, about 250g-300g
- a pinch of asafoetida click here to buy
- 1 cup water
- ½ an onion, sliced
- ¼ teaspoon nigella seed (kalonji) click here to buy
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin click here to buy
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander click here to buy
- ¾ teaspoon rock salt or regular salt click here to buy
- ½ teaspoon Kashmiri chili, ground or to taste click here to buy
- ½ teaspoon dry mango (amchur), ground click here to buy
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup plain yoghurt (unflavoured), about 60g click here to buy
- ½ cup water
- a pinch of garam masala (optional) click here to buy
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
- 2 tablespoons ghee click here to buy
- Wash figs and slice into quarters.
- Boil figs in 1 cup water with a pinch of asafoetida. (If figs are overripe you can skip this step, and add asafoetida directly to figs cooking in ghee.) Drain and set aside.
- Heat ghee in a 9-inch frying pan on medium heat. Add onions and nigella. Stir for 1 minute, or until onions start browning.
- Add figs, cumin, coriander, rock salt, ground kashmiri chili, ground dried mango, and sugar into pan. Stir for a minute until flavours blend.
- Slightly beat yogurt until smooth. Add yogurt and ½ cup water to pan. Bring to a slow boil, cover, and cook for 5-6 minutes until yoghurt is absorbed and thick curry remains.
- Transfer to a serving dish – if using, sprinkle with garam masala, garnish with coriander- and serve hot with rice or chapattis.
Credits: This recipe is adapted from a recipe for Wild Figs in “Cooking Delights of the Maharajas” by Digvijay Singh (Vakils, Feffer and Simons Limited, 1982). The original recipe is for raw, wild figs, which turn out more like a vegetable like tinda (apple gourd.) This is a fruitier, sweeter dish, which makes a nice complimentary side to poultry, or is fun eaten as is. Primarily because I’m a city girl, and unlike the Maharajas who hunted in the jungles, the wildest figs I’m going to find will be plastic-wrapped in the fruit section of a supermarket aisle!
Use firm but ripe fresh figs for this dish While I love the flavour ghee adds to this dish, you can substitute any unflavoured cooking oil and still get a great curry. Often people don’t like the smell of asafoetida, and it can be left out. The nigella seeds and rock salt give a pickled flavour to your curry. You can leave the cumin out and it will still taste good. I have added a little sugar to make this a sweeter, more fruity curry, with a “chatpata” flavour (Hindi for sweet, spicy, tangy and hot.) If mango powder isn’t available, a squeeze of lime will do.