my first try at antroewa

I thought that there would not be any cold days anymore, that winter had finally given up and chose to be kind this year. Last year was a mess, I fell twice while riding my bicycle and slipped many times while walking so this year I was thankful that the winter weather turned out to be mild. But today was such a cold day that I once again fetched my winter coat to go out. As with many people this weather condition translates to comfort food hence the craving for some chilli. At the market Saturday I bought some antroewa from the Surinamese guy. I should remember to take a couple of pictures of the different vegetables I see at the Surinamese stall the next time I visit so that you get a an idea of the goodies I see when I visit there. After going back and forth to either eggplant or antroewa I finally chose antroewa as I have never cooked it before. I however have tasted it and I loved it. It has a slight bitter taste to it but it suits the chilli flavor well. Antroewa is a vegetable originally from Africa and brought to Surinam with the slaves. It’s related to the asian eggplant. If you like the taste of bitter gourd you might like the taste of antroewa also. This is what I call it here but honestly I have no idea how they call it in other countries but you can probably find it at the asian market, in the case of the Netherlands it is available at the toko( specialty Surinamese store). If anyone knows it by another name feel free to share that info with me. Anyway, I decided to give it a try to see if I could make it the way my grandma used to.

I know they don’t look it but they taste very good in this dish. So I washed the antroewa’s and sliced the top part off( where the leaves are). Then I sliced them in half and each half was sliced again but very thinly so they’d cook faster and it wouldn’t be that bitter. I soaked some small dried shrimps in some water until they swelled up. I then chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes and half a chilli. After pouring some oil into the pan I added the onions. I let the onions soften before adding the garlic, tomatoes, the dried shrimp and chilli. I let that simmer for 5 minutes and then add the antroewa and 2 tbs of water. I leave that with the lid on to cook for 15-20 minutes, then you’re done. This is the way my Indonesian grandmother cooks it, with lots of chilli and either dried shrimp or dried fish. The dish itself is not colorful and is not the most attractive to look at but if you smell the heat of the chilli( I used adjoema chillies, very hot) and the pungent smell of the shrimp you will be lured into the kitchen. And while eating it all of a sudden you will forget the cold and gloominess outside.


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