kadalai paruppu chutney

Kadalai Paruppu chutney

If I pounce on the special music season supplementary pages from the day’s newspapers, skip the kutchery reviews, concert schedules and artiste interviews and turn to the last page to read the article on the canteen specials at sabhas, what will JKB (SindhuBhairavi movie) make of me? I worry sometimes. Does that make me a Gnyanasoonyam too? On trips to forests, Jagan looks for the tusker and I look out for the little shack that sells tea and Maggi. What does that make me? Apart from fat? I love road trips and early morning ones at that. I am excited and talkative. I am upbeat and positive. I continue this way until the breakfast stop at a highway hotel – fluffy idlis, fragrant ghee roast and crispy ulundhu vadais with sambar, an assortment of chutneys and piping hot filter coffee. I am contented and ready to sleep the rest of the journey but I am usually not allowed to. I love it that I get to eat breakfast at the table along with the rest of the family. And those freshly ground chutnies are my favourites – each piece dunked in a different chutney. I collect chutney recipes like I collect hmm.. biryani recipes, like others might collect shoes or stamps. I’ve never thought twice to walk up to someone and ask for their chutney recipe.    You cannot have too many chutney recipes. This Kadalai paruppu chutney however comes from my Maamiyaar’s repertoire. You can vary it a few different ways by switching the red chillies for fresh green chillies or throwing in one or two pods of garlic instead of ginger and so on and still make a great chutney every time irrespective of how you change it up. Scoop up this chutney with idlis, dosai or upma. Enjoy!   

Mysore Masala Dosa

  When I am visiting and my mother makes dosai for tiffen, I cringe. She laughs knowingly. The dosai legacy of my husband’s place is legendary. At any point, we grind enough dosai batter for our entire street. We may run out of salt, but not of dosai batter. Huge gundaans of rice and urad dal would be soaking on the counter before the last ladle of the old batch is used up. Zero downtime.   Still, if we were to go to Saravana Bhavan or our favourite Udupi restaurant, I will order Masala Dosai.   I don’t understand it either.   My love-hate  relationship with dosai has been going on for a long time. Apathy at home, love at Udupi restaurants, I looked inward. I thought really hard.     I realized I missed the ghee laden, crisp fried, golden dosa , enveloping a luscious potato masala and smeared with a spicy flavour bursting channa dal chutney and dunked in freshly ground coconut chutney. I missed the frills. I wanted the full package.    I make dosai every day but seldom the light, airy, crisp fried version, the coconut chutney every other day and the potato masala too every once in a while but never all of them together.   Dosai regulars will know that the home-made regular dosai which is more pliable than crisp (which is our usual) is different from the masala dosa/paper roast batter which is different from the thicker benne dosa variety they serve in karnataka that has an almost paradoxical crispy outside and a porous inside texture.     I’ve been waiting for about 237 weeks now waiting for a teeny weeny pause in our batter making machinery to try and squeeze in the mysore masala dosa. And finally one humid, sweaty Chennai evening, when we were out of dosai batter finally, when the counter was free of soaking rice and dal, when the idli/dosai top management was away at a wedding, I took it upon myself to grind up my longtime dream – the light, airy gorgeous mysore masala dosa batter.   You will not believe how thin you can make these dosas. They make the most gorgeous crispy, paper thin dosas.   If you were just about to send your husband out to get a packet of ‘dosai batter’, wait. I know what you’re thinking.   No, it is not as hard...

Puttu and Cherupayar curry

Yuvi told me this morning that he hates singing rhymes. I couldn’t help smiling. What do you say to that? I couldn’t justify why he should. Instead I told him if he didn’t get out of bed, I’d complain to his teacher. He kicked, squealed and made it clear he is doing it but he is against the whole school going thing. I said “See, All these kids go to school. You should be cheerful going to school” and immediately felt shallow for saying that. I didn’t ever skip joyously to school. I am stumped by these moral dilemmas daily. Last weekend, Hasini asked me “Why are you eating dosai? Why aren’t you eating the Ven pongal?” I: “I don’t like Pongal Hasini” Hasini: “But everyone should eat what’s there for breakfast. Why are you eating something else?” She was telling me what I tell her all the time. How do I explain to her my deep-rooted, absolute indifference to Ven pongal which happens to be one of her favourite? I can eat it but I just don’t like it. I wonder if she has thought the same about some of my favourites – “Pesarattu”, “Urundai Kuzhambu”? I reasoned it is ok to not like something if you have tried it, if you have really tried to like it but you couldn’t, if it just wasn’t meant to be. Like Ven Pongal and me. It just isn’t meant to be. I reckoned that Hasini can’t know now if Pesarattu will become her favourite one day, if she’ll grow to love it or if she’ll opt out for a dosai instead. She’ll need to try some more, for the time being. I am torn between Dosai and Puttu-cherupayar curry, between Pogo and Two and a half men, between Hamley’s and Lifestyle, between monster print shorts and linen shorts, between clogs and shoes, between loose hair and pigtails, between candies and chocolates, between “Dandanakka” on the car stereo and nothing. When did they join the league? It is not just Jagan and me now. Hasini and Yuvi have arrived and are calling the shots. Now we play “Dandanakka” on the car stereo and Jagan and I shout over it, we buy both the monster print shorts and the linen shorts, we watch Pogo and Two and a half men on each one’s personal TV. But Puttu-Cherupayar curry had to happen. Hasini tried...

Thinai Kichadi

I didn’t soak my fruits for the Christmas cake 3 months back although I did buy a batch of figs, raisins and apricots that I can’t seem to find now. I didn’t make Christmas-tree shaped sugar cookies with royal icing. I most certainly didn’t make a gingerbread house. I am not very good at this blogging thing. I am sure many of you are violently nodding your heads at this point now. I’ve always had a hard time keeping up, getting along, doing the ‘in’ thing and having conversations with my kids friends’ mommies. And I am just plain busy. Plain busy as in “Plain-busy”, not “fun-busy” with all the parties I have to go to, not “brag worthy-busy” with my yoga classes and marathon runs, never “socially busy” with all the friends I catch up with. I am plain busy giving my kids a bath, going to work, coming back, picking up their toys, cooking, cleaning, renewing insurance premiums, paying bills, searching for the TV remote, surfing channels hoping for a movie (a good one), ordering serial lights and sizzler plates online and battling with customer care for my undelivered items. “Thoo” – Did someone say? Some may call this lazy. I call it plain busy. Strangely (or not) last year too when the blogging world was bursting with cookies, fruitcakes, cinnamon rolls and festive goodies, my blog was there with a Rava Kichadi. Again I am wrapping up the year with this Thinai Kichadi. What a coincidence!! There is definitely some sign here. That my blog will always stand out, be timeless and different Or 2. That my blog will never be current and happening No voting on what sign it is! Please desist from calling out what sign you think it is. I’d like to think it is 1 and continue blissfully. This Thinai packet that my Maamiyaar brought home from an organic store, spent the first 3 months in a basket at the bottom of the kitchen cupboard. Then my Maamiyaar made a Thinai upma with some of it and the packet that I so thoughtfully fastened with a rubber band moved to the middle shelf and sat amidst the dal and rava jars for 2 more months and got tossed around everytime we took out the dal or rava. One day I decided I wanted to do away with the Thinai packet in a tasty, nice...

Kara Adai | Easy Adai

Hasini offered to hold up Yuvi’s arm while I gave him his bath today. Hasini amazes me often with a kindness that belies her age. My little boy fractured his arm last weekend playing on the bed and is now running around with his arm encased in a heavy plaster of paris cast. I’ve been buying him lollipops and toy cars and I let him wear his favourite jeans every day. But I’ll probably never forgive myself for letting it happen. I’ve slowed down, watching my every step, watching his every move, checking and rechecking that all the little fingers and toes are well inside before shutting the car door, moving the bucket from underneath the tap (he likes to take a dip in the bucket). I’ve pushed aside the malpua and linzer cookies and ignored my blogging calendar. I make him his favourite poached egg korma and mini idlis almost every day now. This Kara adai was almost a month earlier. Knowing him, I did not expect him to really eat it but I was surprised that he enjoyed it. This is my ammama’s Kara Adai recipe. It must be one of the simplest Adais out there with the fewest ingredients. This Kara Adai is my favourite Adai over all the other multi-dal grated coconut mixed Adais. It is simple and delightfully tasty. I prefer my Adais on the thinner side bordering on crisp but you could make the Adais however you like them. The fried onions however are not an option. The fried onions are what make the Kara Adai what it is. Soaking time: 2 hours Prep time: 15 mins Cooking time: 2-4 mins per Adai Makes: 8-10 Adais        Ingredients Toor Dal/Tuvaram paruppu/Pigeon peas – 1 cup Raw Rice – ½ cup Onions – 3 medium chopped fine Red chilli powder – 2 tbsp. (adjust) Salt to taste Water as necessary Oil – 2 tbsp for frying the onions Oil – 2 tsp for each Kara Adai Method 1.      Rinse toor dal and rice in 2-3 changes of water till the water runs clear. Then soak for about 2 hours. 2.      Once soaked, drain the water reserving it for later. Grind the dal and rice in a mixie to a coarse paste adding the reserved water to help along. 3.      Transfer the ground rice-dal batter to a vessel. Add salt and red chilli powder and mix...

Idiyappam and Sodhi

You know how it is in offices before a holiday break and then after it. In-spite of a whole lot of “FYI”,  “Coming soon” messages indicating the upcoming holidays, the client teams are routinely surprised that we’re on holiday, they invariably have things planned around the holiday so that we’re scampering at the last moment hitting “Send” and then racing to catch the last bus home. Then they work diligently during our holiday making sure our inbox is full of adorable little love notes when we come back – “dust the cupboards darling, wash the dishes and don’t forget to clean the toilet as well”. Chella kutti!  I am still dusting all those 128 cupboards after the Pongal holidays and haven’t gotten to the dishes and the toilet. (For those who think I am doing housekeeping work, No no, atleast not yet. It was a metaphor). I wouldn’t be posting today if not for Srivalli’s Blogging Marathon. I am glad I signed up for the last 2 weeks. Starting today I’ll be posting 3 classic combo dishes and today’s combo is Idiyappam and Sodhi. Sodhi is a Tirunelveli dish, a beautiful, mild coconut milk based vegetable stew that is usually served with Idiyappam or rice. You can use any combination of mixed vegetables for the Sodhi. I used Drumstick, carrot, beans and potatoes. I never usually make a distinction between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd extracts of coconut milk. I just use them all together. I rarely extract a 2nd or 3rd time even. But this stew demands that you make the distinction. The vegetables are cooked in the thin coconut milk extract (2nd and 3rd extracts or just a diluted 2nd extract if you’re lazy like me) till tender and the thick coconut milk is added towards the end. The stew is quite straight forward from there. Sodhi was refreshingly different to the usual side dishes we make for Idiyappam. Those who like it hot and spicy, be warned – this stew may not be for you, it is really mild with a slight hint of sweet even from the coconut milk added at the end. Prep time: 20 minsCooking time: 25 minsServes: 5 Sodhi Ingredients Coconut milk – 1 Large coconut (Thick 1st extract and Thin 2nd and 3rd extract kept separate)Onion – 1 large chopped fineMixed vegetables – 1-1/2 cups (I used Carrot/Beans/Potatoes/Drumstick)Moong Dal/Paasi paruppu – 3...

Kichadi | South-Indian Breakfast

This kichadi recipe is my mother’s. It works well and is really simple. Just remember the water:rava ratio which is 2:1 and you’ll do well. The South-Indian Kichadi is basically a dressed up upmawith vegetables and a little masala. It is a wonderfully healthy and tasty breakfast option that is sure to please kids and adults alike.  I love kichadi with coconut chutney. It used to be one of my favourite breakfast orders in Bangalore. In Bangalore they call it “Kara Bhath” and one of the few things both kannadigas and Tamilians would agree on (No politics/no offence meant). We can never agree on sambar for example, although I personally enjoy the sweet note in Karnataka style sambar. The kichadi turned out great – soft, fluffy and delicious. Thanks to my mother. I think I’ve told you guys what a great upma maker my mother is. It’s her specialty. We’ve had stretches when she’d make it every night for dinner for even a week in row – Bansi rava upmawith onion and green chillies, Arisi rava upma, Godhumai rava upma, kichadi, Vegetable bath and then Bansi rava upma with whole dry red chillies. “Yenna Upma va!!” – We’d rag her for making the same thing every day even though we enjoyed it. She’s got them all down perfectly and she can replicate the same taste every time she makes them. If somebody ever plans an Upma franchisee chain, she’s the one to catch. Prep time: 10 minsCooking time: 20 minsServes: 5 IngredientsBansi Rava/Sooji/Semolina – 2 cupsMixed vegetables – 1 cup (carrots,beans,peas) cut into tiny piecesOnion – 1 large chopped fineTomato – 1 chopped fineGreen chillies – 3 slit lengthwiseGinger-garlic paste – 1 tbspTurmeric powder – ½ tspSalt to tasteWater – 4 cupsMustard seeds – ½ tspCumin/Jeera – ½ tspCinnamon – 1 inch pieceCloves – 2Curry leaves – from 1 stemOil – 2 tbspGhee – 1 tbspCoriander leaves – a handful chopped Method 1.      Dry roast rava on low heat till a nice aroma emanates – about 5 minutes. Remove on to a plate. 2.      In the same kadai, heat 2 tbsp oil. When hot, add the cinnamon and cloves. Then add mustard seeds and when they splutter add cumin and curry leaves. Throw in the chopped onions and fry till they turn translucent. Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the green chillies and tomatoes and fry till...

Medhu Vadai

I was always fascinated by the huge tyre like Medhu vadais that they serve in Udupi hotels for morning tiffin. Idli-vadai, Pongal-vadai or just vadai are popular breakfast orders in hotels in TamilNadu. The Vadai is the hero here – mighty, perfectly round, golden, crispy things that beautifully complement the soft steamed idlis and smooth pongal. These are served with sambar and an assorted array of chutnies – usually white coconut chutney, an orange onion/tomato chutney and a green coriander chutney. You can’t ask for a better combination. During my B-school hostel days, this was my menu order whenever I visited home – Idli – vadai- sambar-chutney and my mom would diligently make these everytime.  I never learnt how to make vadais during those times. I was happy to eat vadai after vadai watching TV. After roti-rajma-jeera rice every day I’d yearn for the familiar Idli-vadai-chutney. I’ve never been thin in my life, the slimmest I ever was, was during those hostel days, deprived of vadai, biryani and urundai kuzhambu. Making this vadai is quite straight-forward. Just make sure to grind the batter to the right consistency – thick, smooth and light. You should be able to shape the batter with your hands. It’ll be sticky, so wet your hands each time you shape a vadai. Alternately, you can use a banana leaf or empty milk packets to shape your vadais on. You can add little pieces of chopped coconut, curry leaves or coriander leaves to the vadai batter, we usually don’t. We keep it very minimal – cumin, whole black peppercorns and salt. Adding semolina/rava to the batter gives a nice, crunchy exterior. If your batter is too thin and the vadais are drinking up too much oil, you can add semolina/rava to thicken the batter. Made these vadais today for Aadi krithigai. Aadi anything is special. Prep time: 5 minsSoaking time: 2 hoursCooking time: 20 mins (includes grinding time)Makes: 20-25 vadais Ingredients Whole Black gram/Urad dal/Ullundu – 1-1/2 cups washed and soaked for 2-3 hoursSooji/Rava/Semolina – 3-4 tbspWhole black pepper corns – 2 tspJeera/Cumin seeds – 2 tspSalt to tasteWater as necessaryOil for deep frying – about ¾ cup or so Method 1.      Rinse urad dal in 2-3 changes of water till the water runs clear. Soak in water for 2-3 hours. 2.      Drain the soaked water and keep aside. Throw the soaked and strained urad dal in...

Rava Upma – Quick & Tasty Tiffin

Rava Upma – Quick & Tasty Tiffin Upma is a much maligned, under-rated dish among south-indian tiffins. Upma is quick, easy and tasty and needs very few ingredients. When you’ve run out of idli/dosa batter and you don’t have anything handy or you just don’t feel like taking all the effort, you make upma. So when all else fails, there’s upma, like Mamooty says in “Azhagan”. There are people who hate upma and there are people like me who enjoy a good upma. In many households, upma is never made. I think the upma haters are driven by the general image of upma being too plain and because they never have it. These kinds of tendencies build on themselves. You don’t like it, so you don’t have it and you continue to not like it which is why you don’t have it. Like the brinjal haters/okra haters… Generally in our house, upma is made in its own right as a tiffin and not just as a substitute. It is a good kid-friendly uni-age dish that you can serve toddlers as well , my son  with just around 4 and a half teeth (broke a tooth in half recently) quite enjoys his uppalam (thats what he calls it). My sister is an upma lover and my mom is therefore quite an expert upma maker (no that’s not the newest kitchen gadget, it’s just my mom). Now upma isn’t that difficult, but even the simplest dishes can go horribly wrong and I usually manage to test all possible bugs. So I know that even upma can go wrong. The key to a good upma lies in roasting the rava and using the right amount of water. Upma can be served as is or with chutney. Preparation Time: 5 mins Cooking time: 10 mins Serves: 4-5 Ingredients Bombay rava/Fine sooji/Fine Semolina – 2 cupsOnion – 1 large chopped fineMustard seeds – 1/2 tspSplit urad dal/Black gram – 2 tspCurry leaves – 1 stemDry red chillies – 2-3 broken into halvesSalt to tasteOil – 2 tspGhee – 1 tspWater – 4 cupsFried Cashewnuts – for garnish (optional)Coriander leaves – for garnish Method 1.      Dry roast the rava in a kadai/skillet till heated through and remove just before it starts to brown. Set aside the roasted rava. 2.      In the same kadai, heat 2 tsp oil and when hot, add mustard seeds. When the mustard starts...

Idiyappam (String Hoppers) with South-indian style Pepper & Ginger soup

Idiyappam (String Hoppers) with South-indian style Pepper & Ginger soup Idiyappam and soup This is one recipe that I need to give total credit to my mother-in-law (single biggest plus of joint-family). I learnt from her both of these dishes. Idiyappam and soup is a staple at our house, we have it at-least once a week. It is super-easy and super quick to prepare. I was for quite a long time intimidated by Idiyappam, by this silly stringy thingy until I learned to make it. In restaurants, Idiyappam is usually served with Vegetable Korma or sweetened coconut milk. I initially scoffed at the combination of Idiyappam and soup during my early married days, like Men in Black dubbed in tamil – funny but strange. I have to say I’ve grown to really like it. Dip the soft idiyappam in the fiery hot soup for just a moment before popping it into your mouth and then wait for the black peppers to hit the back of your throat – boom. Gives quite a pungent kick. You’ll need getting used to this flavour combination though, a bit like A.R.Rahman songs, the first few times they’ll seem unexciting until you hear them over and over and you grow to love them. Preparation time: 10 minsCooking time: 5 minsServes: 3-4 Idiyappam Recipe IngredientsRice flour – 3 cupsSalt to tasteBoiling hot water Method 1.      Add salt to rice flour and mix well. 2.      Add boiling water a little at a time to the flour and mix with the back of a wooden spatula. Keep adding and mixing till all the flour is incorporated and you have a soft dough. It should be soft to touch, moist but non-sticky. It should be moist, a dry dough would make the idiyappam taste powdery. Keep it covered with a lid. The consistency of the dough is critical to the texture of the idiyappam. This is it. 3.      Fill the Idiyappam press with some dough and start piping from the centre making slightly overlapping circles and working your way out to the outer edge of the idiyappam plate. Don’t worry if your circles aren’t proper circles, are squiggly. I don’t. Make sure the idiyappam plate is fully covered and evenly covered. Repeat the same piping process to cover all your idiyappam plates. 4.      Stack the idiyappam plates in its holder. Place a steel vessel big enough to hold the...

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