vathal kuzhambu

Brahmin style Vathal kuzhambu

I re-read my resolutions for 2014 and cringed. Mediocre writing apart, I had been so naïve. I decided not to write any for this year although in my mind I still believe I can wake up early every day, exercise, lose weight and save all my medical bills, if only I will myself to do it. I am innocent that way. I made an ambitious to-do list today that started with the little chores I wanted to get done today and ended up having everything I wanted to do over the past year. I felt tired reading it. But writing things down always makes me feel I’ve emptied my mind of all the lists on to the book and my mind is free for other tasks. I realized it had been 3 weeks since I blogged last. Ouch! Strangely I’ve been cooking more often these past few weeks than I was before. The newer ways I find to use up leftover rice, my family will make more rice to leave us with more leftovers. I am trying hard not to turn into the kitchen sink momma. Don’t be the kitchen sink momma. If today you eat the extra helping of pulav, the two spoons of poriyal and the tiny piece of cake because it’s too little to store in the fridge, because it is easier to pop them into your mouth than to find little dabbas to store them in, you will do so every day. Once a kitchen sink momma, always a kitchen sink momma. That my friends, is the single biggest reason behind the Indian woman’s disparate shape (top 20: bottom 80).      Making a lip-smacking vathal kuzhambu is a wonderful way to eat up your rice. There are some food combinations that make us go glassy eyed, shake our heads in amazement and recall long lost memories.  Vathal kuzhambu ladled over hot rice, drizzled with some warm gingelly oil or ghee, eaten with crunchy rice appalams will always be a classic. I followed this easy recipe and I was mighty pleased with the results. I love that we add a tiny bit of jaggery to round out the flavours. Make sure not to skip it. You may adjust the quantity to your liking. This kuzhambu keeps well in the fridge for a week or even more.  Wishing all my readers a very happy 2016!   Prep time:...

Aadi special mixed vegetable mochai kuzhambu

In our parts here, Aadi is bigger than Deepavali. Bonafide Tamil, this month is THE month to visit TamilNadu if you want to experience everything you saw in Ramarajan movies – “Thee medhikaradhu”, “Alagu kutharadhu”, “Saami aaduradhu”, “Koozhu” and “karuvaatu kuzhambu”. Yeah, and all of these happen in cities too. Aadi velli, Aadi sevvai, Aadi perukku, Aadi ammavasai, Aadi thalupadi, Aadi is one non-stop month of frenzied activity. I am no perfect daughter-in-law. I don’t remember these dates. I don’t remember when I have to oil/wash my hair and when I shouldn’t. I don’t understand why sambar is compulsory on most of these days. I can’t make small talk. I make do. I remember the koozhu, karuvattu kuzhambu and fried eggs though. The vegetarian version of the karuvattu kuzhambu is this mochai kottai mixed vegetable kuzhambu. It is lovely with rice and appalam or fried eggs. It is a hearty kuzhambu chock full of native vegetables (avarakkai, drumstick, seppan kezhangu etc) that is traditionally served as a side dish with koozhu. Try it soon. Prep time: 15 minsCooking time: 25 minsServes: 5 Ingredients Dried mochai/Lima beans – 1 cup soaked overnightDrumstick – 1 chopped into 2 inch piecesSeppankezhangu/Colocasia/Arbi – 200 gm peeled and sliced into discsAvarakkai/Broad beans – 100 gm chopped into 1 inch piecesOnion – 1 large chopped fineTomato – 1 large chopped fineTamarind extract – 1 large lemon sized ball (~2 cups of tamarind extract)Turmeric powder – ½ tspRed chilli powder – 5 tbspSalt to tasteFenugreek seeds – ¼ tspAsafoetida powder – ¼ tspCurry leaves – 1 stemMustard seeds – 1 tspGingelly oil – 4 tbsp Method 1.       Rinse the soaked mochai a couple of times and transfer to a pressure cooker. Fill with fresh water to about double the volume of beans. Pressure cook for 20 minutes or till the mochai are tender. Set aside. 2.       Heat up a thick bottomed pot. When hot add the oil. Add fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves. When mustard seeds splutter add asafoetida and stir. Add the chopped onions and fry until they turn translucent. 3.       Add the chopped tomato and fry until they turn soft and mushy. Add the chopped drumstick, seppankezhangu and avarakkai. Mix everything up and fry for a couple of minutes. 4.       Stir the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt into the tamarind extract and break up any lumps. Pour the tamarind mixture into...

Arachivitta Sambar | Ground Coconut Sambar

I am still recovering from the after-effects of a team dinner at Hyatt Regency, Chennai yesterday. You know that feeling when you’ve not really had too much but you feel terribly full, uneasy and you would appreciate a good puke? Well, it was just that yesterday. Before I elaborate on yesterday’s experience, here is a little about the recipe I am posting today – Araithivitta Sambar or Arachivitta Sambar. This is a thick, substantial sambar that is best served with steamed rice, appalam and light poriyals (stir-fried vegetables) or fried vegetables. I followed the famous Chandra Padmanabhan’s Arachivitta sambar recipe from her book Dakshin. I picked this book up on an impulse at a Bangalore bookstore many years ago and it is one of my most-often read cookbooks. It is a little treasure-trove of South-Indian recipes. This sambar turned out great; lovely aroma and wonderful flavour from the freshly roasted and ground spices. Left to my devices I would have added just a dash of jaggery (I like that hint of sweetness that balances out the tang and spice in a sambar), but I didn’t as Jagan and the rest of my family don’t like it that way. You could thin the sambar down with a little water if desired. If you’ve not tried it before, I strongly recommend trying this Arachivitta Sambar, the next time you make Sambar. This Arachivitta Sambar tastes special and would be a good choice for the festival days as well. Back to Hyatt, it was the usual 5-star buffet – panner tikka and chicken kebab for starters, steamed rice, veg pulav, 2 dals, paneer gravy, baby potato gravy, a local dish that never tastes like the actual dish (yesterday it was poondu Kuzhambu, the other favourite in this category is Ennai Kathirikkai Kuzhambu), a similar spread on the non-veg side, desserts in those cute mini white dishes (I love those dishes) and a whole lot of salads. I think the salads did me in yesterday or maybe it was the chicken kebab, I am not sure. The chicken kebab was bad. The chicken and asparagus salad was vile. The hummus had no trace of any flavour, bland and perfectly international. However a few of the desserts were really good, particularly the panacotta with berry compote and the café latte pudding but the cakes were just plain old. I always feel 5-star hotel buffets (specifically buffets,...

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