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:...

Sundakkai (Turkey Berry) Sojji

Sundakkai sojji is a mild dal based side-dish that goes well with Idli. I’d never tasted sundakkai or sundakkai sojji before my marriage. I discovered this sojji only after my marriage. Adadadada.. what a sojji! This is as good as a sojji can get (don’t ask me what a sojji is, I don’t know) and it’s a pretty nice way to prepare the sundakkai (apart from the usual kuzhambu). The sojji is fresh, mellow, and comforting neither too hot nor too flat. My kids adore this sojji with idli – I really don’t know why. I eat it too and I like it but I am not crazy about it.  We make this sojji very often at home because the kids like it. Sundakkai (Turkey berry) also happens to grow in our backyard. It is a non-fussy, easy going plant and it just keeps yielding so much fruit over and over that we had to distribute the sundakkai to all our relatives. How about farm-fresh sundakkai packed stylishly in jars or cellophane pouches with cute tags for party favours? Why not? These are the only berries that we get around here in Chennai. Definitely Pinterest worthy, I’d say. A small kaal aazhakku (you know aazhakku? a 1/4 aazhakku must be 50 gm I suppose) of these sundakkai sell for around 20 or 30 rupees in our market. You can use these sundakkai in your kuzhambu or sambar, make thokku or make this sojji. This sundakkai and a couple of hardy greens are the only plants that have survived in our garden despite our negligence (partial – we do water them somedays I guess), limited sunshine and the dogs’ forages. Having the sundakkai plant in the backyard is both a boon and a bane. It’s great when we suddenly discover that our fridge is empty and we can just hop out and pluck these for the morning side-dish. It is a nuisance too when we over-do it, it is very easy to get carried away by the idea of your very own backyard vegetable garden and keep cooking the same sundakkai or greens every day. It happened in our house recently. We’d have a reserve of sundakkai kuzhambu in our fridge always and keerai masiyal (Dal and greens mash) everyday. Tough times those. Prep Time: 10 mins Cooking time: 25 minsServes: 5 Ingredients Sundakkai – 1 cup washed and stalks removedToor dal/Split Pigeon...

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