Monthly Archives: September 2017

Pooti Aachi Vengaya Thuvayal – Great Grandmother’s Onion Chutney

 


  

This post is a tribute to the almost nonagenarian, my 89 year old grandmother-aachi, whose kitchen I peeped into as a kid. It has been a beautiful journey of love, love and love alone – millions of life’s lessons learnt from thousands of chatting sessions. The soft yet strong hands have produced en-numerous delicacies with tonnes of affection. I see those soft hands that have turned wrinkled and bony… and realize life’s harsh truths. The truth of aging, might not be as bad as I sound.. as we learn the art of aging graciously. But seeing our elders age is certainly one among the severest truths.

  


  

When I hold those hands now, I feel the same warmth among those pressing bones that protrude. How many nei urundais (lentils sweet) and pathirpeni (sugary crisps) and murukkus (savoury crisps) have these hands made and served, the taste still lingering in our minds…
 
When I see the glittering child like smile amidst those few clinging teeth and skinny cheeks, I long for the same energetic glee that has welcomed us home from school…
 
When I now listen to the never ending stories through the tired voice, I hope to hear the tamil songs sung to me and the gossips of the household with the same youthful tone…
 
When I look into those wrinkled sleepy eyes, I think of those youthful eyes that admired my every move…
 

But.. the joy of having aachis/grandmothers to tell you stories and admire your children is certainly a boon.
  

at work – great grandmother and great grand daughter


  

When I see my little daughter enjoy the company of Pooti Aachi/Great Grandmother and play several games, I am astonished by the connect of an almost ninety year old with a nine year old and also the other way round! The passion to connect can well be understood by today’s generation of social networks. This is a great connect, that needs no wi-fi. This is the generational link that passes through four generations of interdependent relationships. Quite amazing..truly no words to express.

This is yet another trademark Aachi’s recipe. This storable Onion Chutney is simply the best of chutneys and a great preserve. It can be stored for weeks without a refrigerator. But.. brush your teeth before meeting people.. these are onions and garlic.

The name normally associated with the thuvayal/chutney is vengaya thuvayal or onion chutney. But when it became my daughter’s most favorite chutney, she renamed it as ‘Pooti Aachi Vengaya Thuvayal’ – what else could suit the best of dishes – with the four generational connect. So each time we go home, this is packed on demand…

Due to old age, pooti aachi/great grand ma doesn’t make it anymore. It is made by her daugther-in-law – Amma who has been making this for decades now. But, aachi insists to stand behind to guide, so that nothing is missed. Such emphasis on perfection… certain traits of old age one can’t avoid, I suppose. Though Amma makes the same Great Grandmother’s Onion Chutney to perfection, but she needs to wait a few more decades to earn that name- ‘Pooti Aachi’ and the chutney to be named after her.

So, this post is completely in admiration of that Grand Lady of True Affection, whom I always long would stay with me forever.
  

Pooti Aachi Vengaya Thuvayal
  


  

The chutney is a very simple one, that involves patience and care… the same qualities that I respect my Aachi for.
  

Ingredients
  


  

To grind-

  • chinna vengayam/shallots – 4 cups (appr. 600 gms peeled)
  • poondu/garlic – 1 cup – (appr. 150 gms peeled)
  • milagai vatral/red chillies – 10 no.s

  
For Tempering-

  • nallennai/gingelly oil – 1/2 cup
  • kadugu/mustard seeds – 2 tsp
  • kariveppilai/curry leaves – 3 tbsp

  
Seasoning-

  • salt – to taste
  • juice of 2 small lemons

  
Method of Preparation

1. Wash and peel shallots and garlic and cut into random pieces

2. Fry red chillies in droplets of oil, this helps the seeds to grind well with onion and garlic


  

3. First dry grind the roasted red chillies and then grind the shallots and garlic with chillies into a smooth paste


  

4. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 1/4 cup oil

5. Drop the mustard seeds and once they splutter, simmer stove and add curry leaves

6. Fry for a few seconds and pour the blended paste

7. Increase the flame and bring it to boil


  

8. Then, simmer again and let this mixture cook well – it would take at least 20 minutes to reach a thicker consistency.

9. Do not add salt till this stage. As the mixture thickens, we will need lesser salt

10. Add salt and tell it thicken more… say another 5 minutes

11. When the colour of the chutney reaches brown colour .. remember it was off-white in the beginning, add juice of 1 big lemon or 2 small lemons
  

from off-white


 

to brown


  

12. Once the lemon juice is incorporated, we can notice the colour change in the thuvayal from brown to black.

13. Do not overcook after adding lemon juice…as it will make the chutney bitter

14. After addition of lemon juice, the time needed would be approximately  3 minutes for the chutney to be ready


  

15. Enjoy with all kinds of Idlies and Dosais or even breads and rotis…why not!!

Maappillai Samba Dosai/Pancakes – Dosai with Native/Traditional Varieties of Tamilnadu – 5

 

maappillai samba arisi/rice

  

and ILAVATTAKKAL- the stone of the Youth

photo courtesy: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/village-life-for-real/article7521099.ece
  

Love and Valour have been the main sources of Life and Literature of the Tamils for more than 2000 years (Sangam Tamil Literature dates back to 3rd century BCE to 3rd century ACE).

‘Ilavattakkal’ -roughly translated as ‘the stone of the youngster’ – is an almost forgotten symbolic stone of the Bridegrooms among the Tamils Community. It is a huge stone which was used as a means to judge the physical and mental strength of the ‘Groom in Talk’ for their daughter. To lift the heavy, slippery, beautifully round stone needed great valour, fearlessness, manliness and tonnes of courage. This was an unambiguous assessment of the stamina of the Man, who was seeking the hands of their Daughter. The process was carried out in front of the village elders. The strong man gets the girl.

There are several stages in lifting the ‘Ilavattakkal’.

1. First, the man sits in squatting position

2. and tries to hug the (huge) stone closer to the chest

3. Slightly gets up and moves the stone down till his knees

4. Standing erect, lifts the stone slowly back to the chest

5. Then moves the stone gradually upward to shoulders

6. Holds the stone at shoulder position

7. Beyond holding the stone, taking a circumambulation of the temple or the village pond is another act to prove extra valour.

Translated from information provided from www.eegarai.net/t131596-topic
  

Generally, after lifting the stone on the shoulder, throwing it down behind makes the young man an eligible Groom.

View this video and know it yourself  –

Courtesy Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kog3LiZTp0
  

Now, what is the match between Ilavattakkal and Mappillai Samba Rice, the next native rice variety we are talking about?

The Tamils who have been cultivators of thousands of varieties of rice for the two or three millenia, the trail of mankind has been traced –  have classified different rice varieties for different purposes. A few are listed below.

Mappillai Samba Rice was supposed to be a strengthening rice for ‘Mappillai’ or the groom ready for marriage.

Kavuni Rice was a variety meant to be consumed after marriage.

Poonkar Rice was meant to be consumed by women during Pregnancy.

Paal kudavaarai was given to women after child birth, for sufficient milk production. (paal means milk in tamil).

Vaaran Samba was given to babies after sixth month.

Kaattuyaanam was given to cure Knee ailments

Translated from the information published in – www.dinakaran.com/News_Detail.asp?Nid=222139
  

Hence, the name ‘Mappillai Samba’ is derived from the person the rice is given to -The Groom to be – for strength and health . Maappillai or Mapillai means Bride-Groom in Tamil.

Additionally, this rice boosts immunity and helps tackling Diabetes, among several other health benefits.

Mappillai Samba Kanji or Porridge made from this rice is a sort after tasty simple dish. I tried making Dosai and here is how I made them.
  

Mappillai Samba Arisi Dosai/Pancakes

  


  

Ingredients (makes approximately 10-12 dosais)


  

• maappillai samba arisi/rice – 1 ½ cups
• karuppu ulundhu/black gram – ½ cup
• vendhayam/fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
• kal uppu/rock salt – ½ tsp
  

Method of Preparation
  

Making batter-


  

1. Wash well maappillai samba arisi and black gram.
2. Add fenugreek seeds and soak overnight or minimum 6 hours in water
3. Grind well in a grinder or any blender
4. Once ground into a fine batter add rock salt and mix well or grind the rock salt in the end.
5. Leave the batter overnight or until fermented well.
6. Dosai batter is ready for use.
  

Making Dosai-
  

1. Heat dosaikal or the pancake pan on stove
2. Pour a ladle of batter and spread into perfect round pancakes – preferably thin
3. Pour droplets of gingelly oil on the sides of the Dosai for easy lift of pancake.


  

4. Turn the Dosai to the other side and let it cook
5. Take out once done- remember it would take just about 30-50 seconds to cook one side of thin Dosai. If one keeps it longer, the texture of pancake would be lost.


  
6. Maappillai Arisi Dosai comes out real crispy.

Moongil Arisi Payasam/ Bamboo Rice Payasam


  

Moongil Arisi or Bamboo Rice, is a rare variety among native rice which is the gift of the bamboo flower, during the last stages of the plant. Almost similar to wheat in looks and nutty in taste, it is highly adaptable as payasam/sweet pudding, dosai/pancakes, uppuma, or a replacement to cooked rice with loads of nutritious value.

High protein, high in potassium and vitamin B, strengthens heart, reduces cholesterol, maintains sugar level as it is low in glycemic index…. so many details available.  No doubt, it is several times healthier than the polished, refined rice and other carbs that are available today.

I chose to make a payasam/sweet pudding to relish this exclusive gift from the Bamboo Flower to mankind.
  

Moongil Arisi Payasam/Bamboo Rice Sweet Pudding
  


  

Ingredients

  • moongil arisi/bamboo arisi – 1 cup
  • vellam/cane jaggery – 3/4 cup
  • thengai pal/coconut milk  – thick milk: 1/2 cup; diluted thin milk :1/2 cup
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1/2 tsp
  • nei/clarified butter – 2 tsp
  • mundhiri paruppu/cashewnut – 8 no.s broken into smaller pieces

  
Method of Preparation

1. Soak jaggery in 1/4 cup hot water and close lid. It would be mostly dissolved after 15 minutes. Crush the jaggery pieces if any and filter for impurities. Keep aside to use it later

2. Wash well and soak moongil arisi/bamboo rice for 4 hours.


  

3. Use the soaked water for cooking too. Take 4 times water to 1 times rice (I used 4 cups water for 1 cup bamboo rice)


  

4. In a pressure cooker, reduce the burner after the first whistle and cook for 20 more minutes

5. Open lid after pressure subsides completely


  

6. Pour the filtered jaggery water and cook till the mixture thickens


  

7. Add the diluted thin coconut milk and cook for another 5 minutes. Like the paasi paruppu payasam, moongil arisi can be cooked in third coconut milk and then second and the first thick milk can be added to complete the process. But, moongil arisi is a hard nut to crack. I thought it might need more time to soften and hence used water to cook the rice well.

8. While using store-bought canned coconut milk – dilute 1/4 cup milk with 1/4 water and add at this stage, or if using home-made coconut milk from scratch, add the second milk (not so thin) after the rice is cooked with jaggery.


  

9. Heat clarified butter in a pan and fry cut cashew nuts and add to the boiling payasam. One can also use fried coconut slices or raisins to enhance flavor.


  

10. Check whether the rice is cooked well and absorbed the jaggery and coconut milk.

11. Now, add the thick milk and boil for just 2 minutes in simmered flame. The jaggery may curdle the coconut milk.


  

Nutritious Moongil Arisi Payasam is ready to be served.

Aadu/Mutton Urundai Kuzhambu/Meat Balls (lamb) in Spicy Gravy


  

Mutton Kola urundai kuzhambu, Keema/Kaima urundai kuzhambu, Mutton urundai kuzhambu – all mean the same : a tasty, spicy Meat Ball Curry. I was introduced to this curry long back in a Tamil household, where native food at its best was the norm. Here, food at home was always strictly with the warmth of softest cloth idlies (idlies made in cloth) and the taste of grandmother’s stone ground curries. The efforts put in by the ‘Efficient Mother of the House’ was and is still truly impressive. So much emphasis on perfection for even the simplest of chutnies and precision in making curries used to be a fanfare while visiting their home.

One such amazing cooking experience that I could watch was that of Urundai Kuzhambu with Lamb. Urundai literally translates as ’round’ and is used for all round structures or believed to be round – including the world. Hence, Sweet Balls like Laddus are also known as Urundai and Meat Balls are also denoted by the term Urundai and more so, the Lentil Balls are Paruppu Urundai.

I rekindled the learning experience I got approximately 16 years ago and made Urundai Kuzhambu with Lamb. Whether the recipe is the same is yet to be referred.

I took these recipes as guidelines. Thanks a ton friends!

http://myerecipecorner.blogspot.in/2012/01/kola-urundai-kuzhambu.html
and
https://www.kannammacooks.com/mutton-kola-urundai-recipe/
  
Special thanks to Mrs. G for introducing me to this non-vegetarian extravaganza – due to its elaborate preparation,  especially making it in the traditional way possible (in today’s gadget world) with the stone grinder.

This is how I made it –
  

Aadu/Mutton Urundai Kuzhambu/Lamb Meat Balls in Spicy Gravy (serves 10-15 persons) – reduce according to family needs


  

  

Step I – Making the Meat Balls


  

Ingredients (makes appr. 35-45 urundai)

  

  • minced meat – 1/2 kg
  • grated coconut – 3/4 cup
  • cardamom – 4 no.s
  • cloves – 4 no.s
  • garlic – 10 cloves
  • ginger  – 2 inch piece
  • chopped onion – 1/4 cup
  • green chillies – 4 no.s
  • black pepper – 1 tsp
  • turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • salt – as needed

  
Method of Preparation

  1. In a stone grinder, first grind the minced meat
  2. Next, add cardamom, cloves, ginger and garlic and let them mash well in the stone
  3. Add grated coconut and grind
  4. Then, add chopped onions and green chillies


  

5. Add salt and grind till smooth balls can be rolled out of the blended meat


  

6. Make small urundais and keep aside on plate.


  

Step II – Making the Kuzhambu/Curry

  

Ingredients
  
To saute –

  • oil – 2 tbsp
  • cinnamon stick – 1 inch
  • cardamom – 5 pods
  • cloves – 4 no.s
  • bay leaves – 2 -3 no.s
  • curry leaves – 15 leaves
  • chopped onions –  1 cup (2 big onions)
  • chopped tomato – 1/2 cup
  • slit green chillies – 2 no.s

  
Make a paste-


  

  • grated coconut – 1/2 cup
  • ginger – 2 inch piece
  • garlic – 8 cloves
  • fennel seeds – 2 tsp
  • black pepper – 1 tsp
  • red chilli powder – 2 tsp or more
  • coriander powder – 2 tsp
  • turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

  
To cook-
  

  • tamarind juice – juice extracted from a lemon sized tamarind  – 1 cup

  

Making of Urundai Kuzhambu
  

  1. In a large, hard bottomed pan, add oil
  2. Saute bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and curry leaves
  3. Add chopped onions and slit green chillies and fry until golden


  
4. Add tomatoes and fry until soft

5. Next, add the ground paste of coconut and spices and fry well


  

6. Add tamarind juice to dilute the thick paste and salt to taste


  
7. Cook till the raw smell of spices and coconut is gone

8. Add more water if needed, as we need to let the meat balls cook and absorb more juices of the curry

9. When the curry is done and is there is enough liquid to soak the balls, gently drop the urundais one by one


  
10. Do not over crowd the curry – give enough breathing/cooking space


  
11. Close the lid, simmer the stove and let the meat balls cook in the gravy for at least half an hour

12. Check in between for enough liquid in the pan


  
13. Switch off once the meat balls are cooked well. Make this curry at least 4-5 hours ahead of meal time, for juicier urundais. Serve with Idli, Dosai or Rice.


 

Kullankar Arisi Dosai/Pancakes – Dosai with Native/Traditional Rice Varieties of Tamilnadu – 4

Let’s make dosais/pancakes with Kullankar Arisi – another of the native/indigenous rice varieties of Tamilnadu.

A few health benefits of Kullankar Arisi-

  • High in antioxidants and hence boosts immunity
  • Aids in Insulin Secretion and hence tackles diabetes
  • Helps in weight reduction

Kullankar Arisi Dosai/Pancakes
  


  

Ingredients (makes approximately 12-15 dosais)

  

• Kullankar Arisi/rice – 1 ½ cups
• Karuppu ulundhu/black gram – ½ cup
• Vendhayam/fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
• Kal Uppu/rock salt – ½ tsp

  

Method of Preparation


  

Making batter-

1. Wash well Kullankar Arisi and black gram.
2. Add fenugreek seeds and soak overnight or minimum 6 hours in water
3. Grind well in a grinder or any blender
4. Once ground into a fine batter add rock salt and mix well or grind the rock salt in the end.
5. Leave the batter overnight or until fermented well.
6. Dosai batter is ready for use.

  
Making Dosai-

1. Heat dosaikal or the pancake pan on stove
2. Pour a ladle of batter and spread into perfect round pancakes – preferably thin
3. Pour droplets of gingelly oil on the sides of the Dosai for easy lift of pancake.


  

4. Turn the Dosai to the other side and let it cook
5. Take out once done- remember it would take just about 30-50 seconds to cook one side of thin Dosai. If one keeps it longer, the texture of pancake would be lost.


  

6. Make Kullankar Arisi Dosai crisp or soft as preferred.

Easy Ladle Cup Cake – No Eggs/No Butter

ladle cup cake (eggless)


  

Necessity is the mother of inventions… Any gender bias here?? But that doesn’t matter – as inventions in Indian kitchens can be attributed to mothers – mostly. So, when the urge to create something quick to be consumed quick, without left overs to cling on to the waist or bulging tummy -this ladle cake came up.

It’s certainly not my invention, it’s just a discovery and learning from various other bloggers who have done easy microwave mug cakes and brownies. I’ve followed their expertise with the slightest changes according to my needs and my family’s. As I don’t believe in microwave cooking, I opted for oven baking, to make just 6 quick cup cakes with minimum work load, no eggs and no butter too. As usual all my cakes are whole wheat cakes and this one too is.

Why I call this Ladle Cake is that the measurement used here for the basic ingredients is a ladle. Quick, easy, minimal effort and no left overs is a boon for those days of unsustainable sweet craving.
  

Ladle Cup Cake (whole wheat, eggless, butterless)

the ladle I used

  


  

Ingredients (makes 6-7 cup cakes or a small cake))

  • whole wheat flour – 3 ladles
  • Sugar (I used unrefined cane sugar) – 2 ladles
  • Olive oil – 1 1/2 ladles
  • Thick yogurt – 1 1/2 ladles
  • Cocoa powder – 1 ladle
  • Baking powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Baking soda – 1/4 tsp
  • Water – enough to make right consistency of the batter – 3 ladles appr.
  • Choco chip – 2 tsp (optional)

  
Method of Preparation


  

  1. In a bowl, start by mixing sugar and yoghurt
  2. Mix olive oil to sugar and yoghurt
  3. Mix 2 ladles of wheat flour little by little

  

  

4. Add little water to make the batter thinner to accommodate the other ladle of flour
5. To the other one ladle of flour, add baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder- and mix to the batter
6. Add more water to bring batter to consistency
  


 

  

7. Mix the chocolate chip at the end if using. Choco chips give a moisturous texture to the cake.
8. Pour batter into greased cup cake moulds or non-greased cup cake paper moulds.
9. Bake in preheated oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 15-20 minutes, till a tooth pick comes out clean.
10.Sprinkle powdered sugar and enjoy.
  


  

Or enjoy with chocolate ganache.
  

Kaattuyaanam Arisi Dosai/Pancakes – Dosai with Native/Traditional Rice Varieties of Tamilnadu – 3


  

The next in the traditional/native rice varieties on our list is Kaattuyaanam Arisi. This is a red rice variety.

The name of the rice has an interesting connotation. The name has two parts –

Kaattu is a derivation of KAADU which means forest
Yaanam is a derivation of YAANAI which means elephant

In Tamil Language.

The rice grows quite fast, tall up to 7 to 8 feet that even if a forest elephant enters the rice field, it would be hidden in the tall grass and be unnoticed. Hence, the name denoting both forest and elephant remained with the variety. Additionally, due to the ability of this rice to boost immunity, thereby providing an elephant’s strength to the body, the name has stood for centuries.
  

Health Benefits of Kaatuyaanam Arisi

This rice is blackish red in colour –

  1. provides relief of knee ailments
  2. tackles diabetes
  3. reduces risk of cancer
  4. strengthens heart

  
Now, let’s move on with the making of Dosai/Pancake out of this native rice that makes the body strong and disease free.
  

Kaattuyaanam Arisi Dosai/Pancakes

  


  

Ingredients (makes approximately 12-15 dosais)

• Kaattuyaanam Arisi/rice – 1 ½ cups
• Karuppu ulundhu/black gram – ½ cup
• Vendhayam/fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
• Kal Uppu/rock salt – ½ tsp

  

Method of Preparation
  

Making batter-

1. Wash well Kaattuyaanam Arisi and black gram.
2. Add fenugreek seeds and soak overnight or minimum 6 hours in water
3. Grind well in a grinder or any blender
4. Once ground into a fine batter add rock salt and mix well or grind the rock salt in the end.
5. Leave the batter overnight or until fermented well.
6. Dosai batter is ready for use.
  

Making Dosai-

1. Heat dosaikal or the pancake pan on stove
2. Pour a ladle of batter and spread into perfect round pancakes – preferably thin
3. Pour droplets of gingelly oil on the sides of the Dosai for easy lift of pancake


  

4. Turn the Dosai to the other side and let it cook
5. Take out once done- remember it would take just about 30-50 seconds to cook one side of thin Dosai. If one keeps it longer, the texture of pancake would be lost.


  

6. Make Kaattuyaanam Arisi Dosai crisp or soft as preferred. The Dosai also comes out beautifully crisp that you can shape it yourself.
7. A dollop of new/clarified butter is an extravagant addition to the beautiful Dosai.

8. Enjoy with any kind of thuvayal or chutney. We had with these three-


Peerkangai thuvayal – ridge guard chutney
Thakkali thokku – tomato thokku (fine paste)
Pooti Aachi Vengaya Thuvayal – Great grandmother’s onion chutney
9. Chutney recipes to follow.