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:...

Maayandi Kudumbathinar Menu | South-Indian Non-vegetarian dishes

I’ve compiled our family favourite non-vegetarian dishes under this Maayandi Kudumbathinar Menu. This menu could be called “En Rasavin Manasile Menu” too. You get the idea right. This menu is not just for Maayaandi’s kudumbam or Raj Kiran. It is for anybody who loves traditional south-Indian non-veg fare – think Thalapakatti, Anjappar, Velu Military. This is home cooked non-veg food at its best and this is nowhere a comprehensive list but it is a great starting point for those who’d like to cook traditional non-veg dishes at home. This is just a very small list of our oft-repeated Sunday dishes. I hope to add much more to this list. So keep watching this space. Chettinad Chicken Biryani This Chettinad Chicken biryani on my blog is the most popular post on my blog. Very close to the restaurant style biryani, this is a real keeper.  Plus it is easy, quick and always turns out well. Chettinad Pepper Chicken Masala The Chettinad pepper chickenmasala is a blockbuster hit at home – spicy, succulent and lip-smacking. It is so popular, I make this very often at home – as often as they telecast Mummy returns/Prince of Persia/Karate Kid on Star Movies.  Meen Kuzhambu This is a bona-fide Tamizh style Meen Kuzhambu in a Mann Chatti – a delectable mix of spicy and tangy with lovely soft flaky fish fillets. Not a 5-star hotel type westernized, stylized, watered down stew. Sura Varuval These pan-fried shark fillets / Varutha Sura are not so common but are even tastier the popular Sura Puttu. You can also read all about Chennai’s fish markets. Varutha Muttai No non-veg meal is complete without the egg. These super-quick fried hard boiled eggs/Varutha Muttai are a tasty addition to any meal. Mutton Kola Urundai Reminiscent of the Velu military hotel urundais, these crisp, fried mutton balls / Mutton Kola urundais are flavour packed and absolutely delicious. Would make great party snacks too. Chicken Curry An extremely versatile chicken curry that can be served along with rice, poori or roti, this is a smooth, spicy onion-tomato based chicken curry. Chicken soup This one is for the little Maayandis at home. Mild and delicately flavoured this south-Indian style chicken soup is great for kids and toddlers and an excellent way to introduce chicken to your kids. Mutton Thengai Araitha Kuzhambu A thick, full bodied muttonkuzhambu that makes a great pair with Kal Dosai,...

Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu – Lentil Dumplings in coconut milk gravy

There are several versions of paruppu urundai kuzhambu around; this is my Ammama’s version and one which we’ve all been diligently copying because it’s that good. This Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu is another very typical Tamil dish, although there are plenty of dumpling based gravies and stews that are made across different parts of India. For these dumplings (urundais) we use Toor dal our all- time favourite paruppu. In TamilNadu, we can make our entire repertoire of dishes with just Uuna-kaana-paana-tuna – the 4 basic lentils. Uuna – Ulatham paruppu/Black gram, Kaana – Kadalai paruppu/Channa dal, Paana – Paasi paruppu/Moong dal and Tuna – Toor dal/Red. Idli, Vadai, Pongal and Sambar in that order. The ground masala and coconut milk infuse this kuzhambu with a delicious aroma and a rich, smooth texture. The steamed dumplings are added at the final stage to soak up all those delicious flavours. The longer these dumplings soak, the softer and juicier they are. I personally prefer dumplings to be really soft which are almost about to disintegrate. If you prefer them this way then under-steam by a few minutes and simmer the kuzhambu a little longer.  This paruppu urundai kuzhambu tastes best served hot with rice and a big dollop of ghee. Adadada! Apapapa! I am sending this Paruppu urundai Kuzhambu to the Blogging Marathon for the theme “Dallying with dumplings”. Prep time: 20 minsCooking time: 25 minsServes: 5 Ingredients for the dumpling Toor dal/Red gram – 1 cup rinsed and soaked in water for 2 hours or overnightGinger – 1 inch pieceGarlic – 4-5 cloves peeledGreen chillies – 3 roughly choppedFennel seeds/Saunf/Sombu – 1 tbspTurmeric powder – ½ tspSalt to taste Ingredients for the Kuzhambu/gravy Onion – 1 large chopped fineTomatoes – 2 medium pureedGinger – 1 inch pieceGarlic – 3-4 cloves peeledGreen chillies – 2-3Fennel seeds/saunf/Sombu – 2 tspCoconut milk – extracted from one coconut (about 1-1/2 to 2 cups)Red chilli powder – 1-1/2 tbspTurmeric powder – ½ tspSalt to tasteOil – 2 tbsp Method 1.      Rinse toor dal/red gram in 2-3 changes of water till the water runs clear. Soak for 2 hours or overnight. Grind to a fine paste along with salt, adding very little water. Set aside. 2.      Grind together ginger, garlic, green chillies and fennel seeds adding a little bit of water to a fine paste. You can do this in one step for the dumpling and the kuzhambu...

Meen Kuzhambu

Meen Kuzhambu is TamilNadu’s pride. It is something we can safely call ours, originally conceived and prepared (and being prepared) in TamilNadu. No fusion-confusion here. I am recent convert. I wasn’t a Meen Kuzhambu fan earlier. In fact I am not a huge fan of Kuzhambu in general. But I have slowly started to appreciate the nuances of a well-made Meen Kuzhambu – soft, flaky perfectly cooked fish drenched in a wonderful medley of hot, tangy and spicy kuzhambu.  Meen Kuzhambu tastes best with hot steamed rice and hot pan fried fish fillets. It also goes splendidly well with Idli or Dosai. Making a good Meen kuzhambu they say is an art, not everybody can do it. I’d like to disagree. A good Meen Kuzhambu is a piece of art but I think if you can master the 3 important components of making the Meen Kuzhambu, you can make some beautiful art too. The first, most important component of it is the cleaning part. If you’ve cleaned the fish well, you’re kuzhambu will not smell fishy. Make sure to scale the fish thoroughly by scrubbing the fishes, skin side down on a coarse stone. Once scrubbed properly (you should see whitish scaly stuff run out), the skin side should be a wee bit coarse and not as slippery and smooth as before being scaled. Rinse well in 2 or 3 changes of water. The second component is extracting the tamarind juices. Now, this seems too trivial but it isn’t. The proof of the kuzhambu is in the puli (tamarind). Soaking the tamarind in water for about half an hour makes it easier to extract the juices. Once you’ve extracted the first juices, add water in small increments (half a cup at a time) squeeze and extract the juices and strain. Repeat till you have the strained tamarind juice which is roughly the same amount as the amount of Kuzhambu you’ll finally end up with. By adding small increments of water, you extract better without diluting too much. The third component is about getting the consistency right. Meen Kuzhambu is not a very thick kuzhambu, but it shouldn’t be too runny either. Usually when the kuzhambu boils, it is time to drop in the fishes. At this stage do the back of a ladle/karandi test to check if the kuzhambu lightly coats the back of the ladle/karandi. If it doesn’t, then...

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