Culinary experiments on procedure CP–4
So far, the attempts in the culinary experiments have been to mask the taste of cranberries with the flavor/taste from other ingredients (yes, without the addition of sugar or other sweeteners). Let us take a 180o turn and ask, can the taste of cranberries be celebrated in any way? If you uttered something like – duuda what? – I won’t be surprised. This experiment has two versions and I hope that you will attempt both of them. First, we will try the tastier version.
Here, in the preparation of cranberry-coconut paste, cranberry is taken in equal proportion to the coconut kernel. Cranberry is used in place of the tamarind paste (as described in the e-book). The coconut paste produced with this combination is delicious. Suggested ratios of ingredients are as follows:
Fresh coconut kernel – 4 oz
Cranberries – 4 oz
Whole red chilies – 8
Garlic – 3 cloves
Salt – ½ teaspoon
Steps 1 & 2 are identical to that described for CP-4. In step 3, add the cranberries to the blender instead of the tamarind paste. (The cranberries should be washed well prior to the addition to the blender.) Proceed to blend it well, adding minimum amount of water. Now, you will have a very pinkish and yummy coconut-cranberry paste.
A note to Susan Stamberg, of NPR: The NPR website tells me that you have been giving your famous cranberry relish recipe since 1971 (correction: apparently, this has been a tradition for the last 104 years!). If you ever stumble upon this posting, please try the above cranberry-coconut paste preparation. I will not be surprised if you decide to switch allegiance and decide to give this cranberry-coconut paste recipe on the radio, for the next 42 years, instead of the one with added sugar. (The context for this note can be found here.)
In the second experiment, you should reduce the proportion of cranberries (e.g., 2 oz cranberries for 4 oz coconut kernel). Other procedures can remain the same. Once your have the coconut-cranberry paste, you might agree with me that this version is less tasty than the first experiment. This is contrary to what you might have guessed intuitively; here we have a case where higher proportion of cranberry produces a more desirable taste.
Thinking further and extending this logic, are you tempted to increase the proportion of cranberries even higher than the first experiment? Go ahead – these experiments are also likely to yield tasty coconut-cranberry pastes. However, I anticipate that there will be an upper limit to the amount of cranberries that can be added, beyond which this preparation will produce less palatable cranberry-coconut paste. I can imagine the mathematically inclined folks plotting a graph of palatability vs. amount of cranberry and finding the inflection point in their personal taste, for this cranberry-coconut paste. If you produce such a graph, please send that to me at: murali[at]simpleistasty.com. I will post that the picture gallery. (A mild reminder that the cranberries are not cooked in this preparation!)
To get the e-book of A Short Course in Culinary Experiments, click here for the Amazon Kindle Store.