baby fig spoon sweet with jaggery and himalayan black salt

Baby fig spoon sweet with jaggery and black Indian salt | A Brown Table

Ever wondered what to do with those unripe baby green figs, so did we! Well that is until, we found this wonderful recipe from a Greek food blog called, Mama's Taverna. One of the things, I really love about having this food blog and now participating in this supper club, is the opportunity to not only share my work but also getting to learn from other people who love food as much as I do. Food blogs, cookbooks, magazines and the likes all provide an avenue for us to experiment and try out new things, probably some of them we would never have heard of otherwise or even got the chance to try. 

Baby fig spoon sweet with jaggery and black Indian salt | A Brown Table

Alanna and Phi picked up tons of green figs for our supper club and we decided on a couple of recipes to see if these figs could be used. One of the recipes that stood out was this baby fig spoon sweet or Sikalaki Gliko. To be honest, it is a little time consuming because of the prep work required to soften the unripe figs and I was a little nervous about whether this would work. But no need to worry, it does! You need to boil the figs several times to get rid of the latex that is inside the ovule, once that is done, the figs soften and become tender and will absorb the flavors of the soaking syrup. 

So here is one of the dishes that we will be serving up tonight among a host of other fig containing plates, an Indian inspired Greek fig spoon sweet.

We have 8 courses of hand picked California Figs, RSVP here: eatFeastly.com and here's what we are serving up,

Sikalai Gliko on Gluten-Free Crackers with Dukkah A greek method of cooking and preserving unripened baby figs – served on crunchy crackers baked with dukkah, an Egyptian spice blend of nuts, herbs, and savory spices.

Shaved Apples and Fennel with Fig and Pomegranate Salad … and topped with fresh fig and pink pomegranate arils.

Fig Tagine with Defrosted Grapes Served with herby couscous.

Lettuce Cups with Lemony Herbs & Cheese Stuffed Figs in Filo

Fig & Pumpkin Samosa “Pot Pie” Served with Hot Date & Tamarind Sauce, Unripened Fig Chutney.

Olive Oil Ice Cream with Fig Syrup Swirl Served with crispy fig chips and toasted pistachios.

Double Chocolate Figs Fresh figs stuffed with brandy ganache, then, dipped in chocolate.

Fig Leaf and Vanilla Bean Soda

Baby fig spoon sweet with jaggery and black Indian salt | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips and some from Mama's Taverna while preparing this treat,

  • Use a stainless steel cooking pot that is cheap, one that you're not too attached to. Raw figs release a lot of latex while boiling. The latex will stick to the sides of the pot, so I recommend wiping it with a clean paper towel immediately after each boil is complete. Drain the liquid and the figs into a large colander and then wipe the sides with paper. You will still have to scrub the sides after the entire process is complete, so avoid using non-stick pots.
  • Jaggery is raw Indian sugar, it has a slight smoky flavor and a very unique taste that I love. However, you can substitute brown sugar with the same amount or even do a half and half mixture of both.
  • Indian black salt or "kala namak" is also called the Black Himalayan Salt has a distinct dark pink color, it has an interesting fragrance due to the sulfur trapped inside it which is released once the salt is mixed into liquids. I use it quite a bit when I cook and it is definitely a great seasoning to keep in the pantry. 
Baby fig spoon sweet with jaggery and black Indian salt | A Brown Table

fig spoon sweet with jaggery and himalayan black salt 

yields: 1.5 lbs

ingredients 

1.5lbs raw unripe green figs

cold tap water to boil the figs

2 cups water

20 cloves, whole

1 lb jaggery 

1 teaspoon ground himalayan black salt

1. Wash the figs thoroughly to remove any material that might be stuck on the skin. Poke a hole all the way through each unripe fig using a skewer (metal or bamboo). Place the figs in a large and deep stainless steel stockpot and cover with running cold tap water until there is an inch of water over the fruit. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil and then boil for 15 minutes. Drain and discard the liquid in a colander. Rinse the figs in water and wipe the stockpot to remove any latex foam that might be bound on the sides. Allow the figs to cool to room temperature and then repeat this process two more times. The figs will be soft and tender once prepared. Drain and keep aside to cool.

2. In a separate medium sized stockpot, add the 2 cups of water,  cloves, jaggery and himalayan black salt. Heat on a medium-high flame and bring to a boil, boil this to form a syrup for about 20 minutes. Watch and stir occasionally to prevent the liquid from overflowing. Once the syrup is formed, add the prepared figs. Boil the figs in the syrup for another 15 minutes, remove the figs and then strain the liquid through a cheese cloth lined over a colander. Add the figs back to the strained syrup and then allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator. The figs will absorb all the flavors and will be sweet and flavored. Serve as needed.

fig and ginger compote

Fig and Ginger Compote|A Brown Table

For the past few week, I've been feeling a bit reminiscent. Part of me misses my old life in DC, the familiar spots and friends that I spent so much time with. After seven wonderful years in a great city, where I worked my first job out of grad school, went back to grad school, made friends that I consider family, met the love of my life, got married and had many other special moments, this would obviously be a hard change. I'm extremely thankful that we were able to make the move to California and it was definitely time for a change that we both needed.

The past three months in our new home have been great, exploring new places and meeting new people but I miss the part where I could talk with my friends at any time of the day and have conversations that ranged from sensible to absolute nonsense. Not that this still doesn't happen but the three hour time difference between the two coasts makes it a little hard and requires a bit of extra planning. But, at the end of the day, I remind myself that life is full of changes and each one of those changes, planned or unplanned are important because it helps mold my way of thinking, the dual combination of the nervousness and joy of experiencing the unfamiliar that is exciting and what makes change and life fun. 

Fig and Ginger Compote|A Brown Table

I recently made this fig compote to use a bunch of figs that I picked up at the market. As much as I love figs, there is one thing about them that annoys me the most, they grow mold rather quickly if they are too overripe. This compote was my way of immediately using up those figs and making them last for a few weeks (I hate, hate, losing figs to mold, it's really aggravating because I usually can't blame anyone else but me)! 

Fig and Ginger Compote|A Brown Table

Bubbling red wine with vanilla beans is one of the most comforting fragrances that can come out of your kitchen. Fruity and floral aromas are the best when it comes to feeling relaxed. There are quite a few fall flavors in this compote, ginger and balsamic really give this a nice bump and all the flavors come together in one little jar of goodness that you can serve over cheeses or with charcuterie or pretty much anything else. 

Note: Since fresh figs can vary in sweetness, I recommend adding less sugar and then tasting the compote towards the end to see if you need more sugar. 

Fig and Ginger Compote|A Brown Table

fig and ginger compote 

yields: about 1 generous cup

ingredients

1 lb fresh figs (I used mission figs)

1 cup red wine ( used a sangiovese)

2-4 tablespoons brown sugar (you might need less)

1 vanilla bean, sliced in half

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1/4 cup crystallized ginger bits

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (to make this compote extra fruity, you can also use a fruit/berry flavored balsamic vinegar here, I've tried blackberry and pineapple version and they all did really well)

1. Rinse the figs under running tap water and and trim the stalks off. Slice the figs in half and place them in a medium saucepan.

2. Add the red wine and 2 tablespoons of the sugar to the figs. Bring the contents to boil on a medium-high flame, this should take about 5-6 minutes. Remove from the stove and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

3. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean with a sharp knife and add the seeds and the bean along with the black pepper and ginger to the fig mixture and return to the stove. Cook on medium-low with occasionally stirring until the mixture thickens and reduces in volume to about half its original. This will take about 35-40 minutes. Once this is done, taste to see if it is sweet enough, the sweetness depends on how sweet the figs are so add extra sugar if needed. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and remove from stove. Cool and store in an airtight container.