Monthly Archives: August 2011

Vellai Kuruma – White Kuruma

Kurma or Korma is basically a gravy dish where vegetables or meat is cooked or braised in a  sauce with different combinations of spices to go with steamed rice or chappathi. It is made quite spicy and colourful with tomatoes, garam masala and ground coconut paste in tamilnadu. For main courses like Idiyappam or Aappam, chicken or mutton kurma are considered the best combination. I named this white kurma because this was quite different from other kurmas which are red or orange in colour.

When we visited Tamilnadu, one of our friends Shanti served us this dish with ‘very simple’ in looks but ‘can’t stop licking the fingers’ kind of taste.  She offered this kurma with hot idlis or steamed rice cakes. I could’nt really come to a conclusion to whether the colour of it or the subtle taste of the vegetables cooked in coconut paste and spices made it so appealing.

This goes well with aappams or idiyappams too!

Ingredients

  • Cubed carrots, beans, potatoes – 1/2 cup each
  • Green Peas – 1/2 cup
  • Cauliflower florets – 1/2 cup
  • Chopped onion – 1 no.
  • Ginger – Garlic paste – 1 tsp
  • Freshly Grated Coconut – 5 tsp
  • Cashewnuts – 7 nos
  • Fennel seeds (perunjeeragam – saunf) – 3 tsp
  • Green Chillies – 2 nos ( according to the spicce of chilly)
  • Lemon Juice – 3 tsp
  • Oil – 2 tsp
  • Cardamom, cloves – 3 nos. each
  • Cinnamon – 1 small twig
  • Salt  – to taste
  • Coriander leaves – to garnish

Method of preparation

  1. Pressure cook or steam all the vegetables till done
  2. If pressure cooked, use the vegetable stock while cooking
  3. Blanch cauliflower separately
  4. Grind grated coconut, cashewnuts, fennel seeds and green chillies to a fine paste
  5. Make a paste of ginger and garlic separately
  6. Take oil in a wide chatti (cooking pan)
  7. Add the dry masalas and ginger garlic paste and fry
  8. Add the chopped onions and fry for a moment
  9. Next, let the cooked vegetables go in
  10. Add in the ground paste and mix well
  11. Add stock if vegetables were pressure cooked or just water
  12. Adjust water according to the consistency
  13. Add salt to taste and bring it to boil
  14. Simmer and let it cook for 5 minutes
  15. Juice of lemon should be added after turning off stove and just before serving
  16. Serve garnished with coriander leaves.

Beans Pachai Payaru Thuvaran – Beans and Green Gram Dry Curry

The dry vegetable curries called thuvaran or poriyal or the kuzhambus or gravy dishes would require oil only for thaalippu or tadka (seasoning). I believe in minimum oil usage in any receipe.

A little bit of patient research showed me that using five teaspoons of oil in a recipe and two teaspoons did not make any difference. Only when nearly eight to ten teaspoons of oil is used, there is remarkable shine and glow in the end product. Greasy food is not healthy food. So, when I am not ready to use ten teaspoons in a dish, why use five when two teaspoons give the same result!! In fact two teaspoons is for those who really feel it is an insult to the vegetables not providing  adequate oil – one teaspoon is sufficient though. I use only one.

These are some of the dishes which come out really well without any bonding with the pan in spite of the one teaspoon oil. For those who find it difficult, can try initially with two. If you relish the slight glow in the finished dish while serving, use one teaspoon (or no oil) for cooking and heat one teaspoon oil and give a tadka at the end. You are nearly there with the glow of 10 teaspoon oil.

I always add garlic to most of my dishes as I believe in its medicinal properties. It adds to the flavour in dry recipes and helps in combatting gastric problems. Ginger and garlic are two ingredients which can be altered as per one’s taste preferences.

Beans Pachai payaru Thuvaran – Beans and Green gram dry curry

steamed beans

cooked green gram

 

thuvaran – dry curry

 

Ingredients

  • Green beans – 500 gms
  • Cooked green gram  – 1 cup
  • Oil – 1 tsp
  • Garlic – 3 cloves mashed coarsely
  • Green chillies – 2 no.s split into halves
  • Red chillies – 2 no.s broken into two  
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – a few
  • Salt – to taste
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida (Perungayam /Hing) – 1/2 tsp
  • Grated coconut – 1/2 cup (optional)

Method of preparation

  1. Finely cut green beans and steam in microwave for seven minutes
  2. If cooking in a pressure cooker, use water in the base of the cooker and cook beans without water in a smaller vessel inside
  3. Green gram should not be cooked mushy; it should be intact 
  4. Take one tsp cooking oil in a wide pan or kadai – (Iruppu Chatti)
  5. Add mustard seeds; when it splutters add urad dal
  6. Simmer and add curry leaves, crushed garlic and both the chillies
  7. Garlic is optional – It’s good as it reduces gastric problems which might arise due to the green gram
  8. Fry just for a few seconds since there is very little oil in the Chatti, it might get burnt easily
  9. Add the cooked beans and mix well
  10. Sprinkle turmeric powder and salt and mix
  11. Add the cooked green gram dal and mix all together
  12. Always keep the stove in minimum heat and close with lid for a couple of minutes
  13. Open the lid and stir for another minute and its done
  14. Sprinkle asafoetida on top and mix well (Asafoetida powder can also be added to oil initially if one dislikes the fresh sprinkled smell on top
  15. Also sprinkle freshly grated coconut
  16. Ready to serve with Rice and Kuzhambu/Chappathi and dal

Kaaikari Sodhi – Vegetable Stew (Maapillai Sodhi -The Son-in-law Stew)

Kaaikari Sodhi – Vegetable Stew

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.

Ingredients

  • 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
  • cooked yellow lentil (peeled broken greengram – moong dal)  – 1/2 cup
  • cooking oil – 2 tsp.
  • 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

seasoning

  1. mustard seeds  – 1tsp
  2. curry leaves – a few
  3. green chillies – slit into halves – 3 no.s

Method of preparation

  1. Cook all the vegetables except cauliflower in the third milk until tender
  2. Blanch cauliflower separately
  3. Keep aside the cooked yellow lentil
  4. Heat oil in a heavy pan and add mustard seeds. let them splutter.
  5. Fry the onions, garlic cloves, green chillies and curry leaves. If small onions are not available, normal onions can be cut and used
  6. Add the cooked vegetables and the milk used for cooking and the cauliflower florets into the pan
  7. Add salt and bring it to boil
  8. Simmer and add the 2nd milk and stir
  9. Add the cooked lentil. Make it a little pulpy by adding some water. Or else lumps might be formed
  10. 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.
  11. Little water or thin coconut milk can be added for the right consistency
  12. Just before serving, add the lemon juice and mix well
  13. 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, it is less time consuming.

Paasi paruppu Nei Urundai – Yellow Lentil Sweet Balls

Sorry for the long break. Just after I wrote the phrase – “peeping into grandma’s kitchen…”, I truly had an oppurtunity to peep into my granny’s kitchen. Yes.. I had been to India and literally had delicacies supervised and cooked by aachi herself and helped by amma.

NEI URUNDAI

We always start anything new with a sweet dish. So, here we go – ‘Nei Urundai’ translates as clarified butter balls. Nei is the tamil word for ghee or clarified butter and Urundai means ball. These are cute little balls that melt in your mouth and slide through your throat. Just be careful holding it or having the first bite. It breaks easily. So just handle it like a newly wed wife. Bet you wont stop with one – the sweet balls or the urundais I mean!

Ingredients

  • Skinless split green gram -yellow lentil (paasi paruppu/moong dal) – 1 cup -roast and ground finely (avoid granules)
  • ii. Sugar – 1 1/2 cups powdered
  • iii. Clarified butter (Nei) – 1/2 cup
    The quantity of the ingredients is before roast and ground.

Method of Preparation

  1. Take one cup split lentil, roast it in any pan and grind it fine. Usually it is done in bulk in any grinding mill in India. (It might not be as fine if done in a dry grinder at home – but its okay). Even after very fine grinding in a dry grinder if you find hard granules, you can sieve the powder.
  2. Powder the sugar and add both dry ingredients in a wide vessel.
  3. Heat the nei in a separate deep pan.
  4. The heating consistency of clarified butter is very important. When the clarified butter is really hot, take a teaspoon of it and pour it in the lentil-sugar mixture. There should be bubbles coming up. This is the right heat.
  5. Pour the total nei at one go and mix it randomly.
  6. Make medium sized balls when the mixture is really hot. This helps in binding the balls well.
    Its done and ready to taste!!

The above quantity would be sufficient to make 20 urundais.