In Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi – the down south districts of tamilnadu, kaaikari sodhi or vegetable stew is a special recipe. Speciality lies not only in its preparation but also in the occasion. The hindu marriage is held in the morning hours of the day. Evening is the reception with nalangu and simple games between bride and groom. Next morning also has small and simple ceremonies with only close family members. Though the marriage is done by the bride’s family, this next day meal is hosted by the groom’s family which is Rice and Vegetable Stew.
From now on, the Stew travels hand in hand with the son-in-law. At least for the first few years, whenever the groom and bride visit relative’s places, they are always offered rice and vegetable stew with more delicacies. As stew is cooked with coconut milk, for easy digestion it is always accompanied by ginger chutney.
- carrots, beans, potatoes – cut into rectangular pieces – 1 cup
- green peas – 1/4 cup
- cauliflower – cut into small florets – 1/2 cup
- small onions – 6 no.s
- garlic – cut vertically – 6 cloves
- green chillies – slit into halves – 3 no.s
- curry leaves – a few
- cooked yellow lentil (peeled broken greengram – moong dal) – 1/2 cup
- cooking oil – 2 tsp.
- cardamom, cloves – 3 no.s each
- cinnamon – 2 small pieces
- bay leaf – 1 no.
- salt – to taste
- coconut milk:
- i. 1st milk – thick milk extracted with less water – 1 cup
- ii. 2nd milk – thinner than first with more water added while grinding – 1 cup
- iii. 3rd milk – thinnest of all – 1 cup
- coriander leaves – to garnish
- lemon juice – 5 tsp
Method of preparation
- Cook all the vegetables except cauliflower in the third milk until tender
- Blanch cauliflower separately
- Keep aside the cooked yellow lentil
- Heat oil in a heavy pan and add cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf
- Fry the onions, garlic cloves, green chillies and curry leaves. If small onions are not available, normal onions can be cut and used
- Add the cooked vegetables and the milk used for cooking and the cauliflower florets into the pan
- Add salt and bring it to boil
- Simmer and add the 2nd milk and stir
- Add the cooked lentil. Make it a little pulpy by adding some water. Or else lumps might be formed
- When this comes to a boil, add the thick 1st milk. Simmer for a while. Do not let it boil too much or else the coconut milk might curdle.
- Little water or thin coconut milk can be added for the right consistency
- Just before serving, add the lemon juice and mix well
- Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice
This stew is always had with Inji Thuvayal or Ginger Chutney. See inji thuvayal-ginger chutney for the recipe.
Tip: To make stew faster, vegetables can be steamed and thick 1st milk/canned coconut milk can be added instead of 1st, 2nd and 3rd milk. Though taste might differ a little, less time and fewer calories go into it.