Upo-yacon Masala

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UPO-YACON MASALA In Palawan a few months back I had the good fortune of learning to cook from an Indian doctor of integrative medicine, who also happened to be an excellent cook. We were more than an hour away from Puerto Princesa, and the nearest wet market sold limited produce grown by the residents in their own backyards—masala was a great technique to learn so that one was assured of a delicious dish no matter which produce was available. This recipe simplifies the traditional technique Dr. Paramjit taught me, and is a great go-to for those days when you don’t know what to do with your veggies. Adding yacon gives this dish a sweet crunch, while cutting the heat. (Mabi) 1 large upo, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks 1 T cumin seeds 2 T coconut oil 5 pcs green chili, sliced thinly 3 medium white onions, minced 6 large ripe tomatoes, diced 2 tsp salt 1 T coriander powder 1 T cumin powder 1 tsp turmeric powder 1 tsp cayenne powder (adjust to preference) 1/2 cup raisins or 2 steamed saba, cut into chunks 1 T coconut sugar 1/4 c water 1 large yacon, peeled and cut into cubes 1/2 tsp ground black pepper juice of 1/2 lemon 1. Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add cumin seeds until they pop. Don’t burn the seeds. 2. Add chili and white onions. Cook until onions are translucent. 3. Add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes break down, stirring regularly so they don’t stick to the pan. 4. Add spice powders and stir. Cook until you see the mixture releasing oil at the sides. The masala is now cooked. 5. Add upo, raisins, and water. Stir to combine, then reduce to a simmer. Cover until upo is tender but not mushy. 6. Remove lid, add yacon, stir, and cook until some of the liquid evaporates. Drizzle with lemon juice, season with ground pepper, and serve hot with rice.

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