I am trying to mentally note down little pieces of dialogue that kids happen to say, to narrate later. Over weekends, I am adjusting the web-cam to fit everyone into the skype window or scouring the country’s Amazon website for the best deals that I can get without shipping and exchange rate overheads.
I do what a wife-of-frequent-traveller-husband does best.
For a short period, I live a slightly lame bad-ass, almost-single-but-with-kids-and-domestic-duties kind of life. I while away weekends, play loud music, defraud dinner, read the day’s papers first, in its original folding from the living room instead of the toilet, get around to my long-lost to-do list & re-do that list and command kids freely.
I schedule my best laid plans for the husband-away days. Finally I have the remote, but I’ve lost touch. So TV remains off. The Bose player is on throughout starting with M.S. Subbulakshmi’s Suprabatham in the morning to “Saathi Malli poocharame” in the evening. I plan my vathal and pickle learning sessions, parlour appointments, family visits, pondy bazaar shopping trips and meetings with friends during these times.
I make Mor Kuzhambu, keerai masiyal, dal and rice with abandon. No Mor Kuzhambu opposition party to accommodate.
I read into the night in full glow of the CFL.
I write through the night, I’d like to think. I am staring at the blank document, watching cake decorating tutorials on youtube, staring at the document, scrolling facebook and staring at the document.
I make vegetable pulav, vegetable curry and order vegetarian pizza because Jagan is a strict non-vegetarian.
I make different iterations of vegetable kurma (This recipe is from the canteen maami. Thank you!) I test and re-test. I make again till it tastes like this. It is hot and heady aromatic pulling you from wherever you are to the kitchen, is full bodied enough to scoop with a piece of roti or mop up with some idiyappam and you eat an extra roti/idiyappam for the kurma. That to me is a true tribute to the kurma. This vegetable kurma is that kind of kurma. Enjoy!
Restaurant style vegetable kurma
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- For the kurma
- Chopped vegetables – 3 cups (I used carrots, turnips and potatoes. You could use cauliflower, peas or beans too)
- Salt to taste
- Bay leaf – 2
- Cinnamon – 2 inch piece
- Cardamom – 4
- Cloves – 5
- Kashmiri Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
- Oil – 3 tbsp
- Ghee – 1 tbsp (optional)
- For the Spice pastes
- Onions – 2 large, ground to a paste
- Tomatoes – 2 large, ground to a puree
- Green chillies – 3-4 ground to a paste
- Ginger-garlic paste – 1 inch piece ginger + 5 large cloves garlic ground to a paste
- Coconut-poppy seed paste – ½ a coconut grated + 2 tbsp poppy seed soaked in water for 10 minutes, ground to a paste
- Pressure cook vegetables with salt and water till tender but not mushy. You could cook then in a kadai too. Set aside.
- While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the spice pastes. Grind onions separately to a paste. Set aside. Grind green chillies to a paste. Grind ginger and garlic to a paste. Set aside. Grind tomatoes to a puree. Grind coconut and poppy seeds to a paste. Grind each of these separately and set aside.
- To a large kadai, add oil and ghee if using. When hot, add the whole spices – bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. When the spices turn fragrant add the ground onion paste. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or till it changes colour and doesn’t smell raw. Add in green chilli paste and saute for 1 minute. Follow with ginger garlic paste and saute for 1-2 minutes. If the pastes stick to the kadai, add in a tablespoon of water.
- Add in pureed tomato and mix well. Cook on high heat for about 2 minutes stirring frequently. Add Kashmiri red chilli powder and mix well. Tip in the cooked vegetables along with any liquid. Add 1-2 cups of water and stir everything together. Taste and adjust salt. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes on low till the flavours have blended.
- Pour in the coconut-poppy seed paste, stir well. Add a little water if the kurma is too thick. Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes or till oil separates. Switch off. Serve hot with Idiyappam or roti.
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