Category Archives: Rice Varieties

Home Cook’s Pressure Cooker Mutton Biriyani with Thayir Pachadi/Raita

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That was a simple Sunday that started with the usual home made bread for breakfast.  Sundays can turn out to be one of the laziest days, yet the best is expected to come from the kitchen.  Thankfully for me, Cooking has always been a stress buster and an energy creator. This attitude can be termed as the height of optimism by those relaxing Sunday souls, who refuse to enter kitchen on holidays.

With the same positive energy, to make that lazy Sunday a flavorful one, I chose to try a Mutton Biriyani, a favorite delicacy throughout the world, with some good mathematics to post here. Mathematics with Biriyani…. certainly not written due to stress in brain activity. But, Biriyani needs meticulous measurements to bring out that ultimate aroma and taste.

I’ve tried to be accurate with the quantity of ingredients involved in the making of Mutton Biriyani. Additionally, reducing the effort involved in the making of good Biriyani, Pressure Cooker is used for quick cooking. This is no advertisement for Pressure Cookers, but believe me… it does reduce the stress of watching the Biriyani in a Pot or Handi cook to long grainy soft perfection.
A note on the history of Biriyani in India-

 

Though it may appear to be a dish indigenous to India, in reality the dish originated quite far away. Biryani is derived from the Persian word Birian, which means ‘fried before cooking’ and Birinj, the Persian word for rice. While there are multiple theories about how biryani made its way to India, it is generally accepted that it originated in West Asia.

There are records of a rice dish known as Oon Soru in Tamil literature as early as the year 2 A.D. Oon Soru was said to be made of rice, ghee, meat, turmeric, coriander, pepper, and bay leaf, and was used to feed military warriors.
http://www.thebetterindia.com/60553/history-biryani-india/

 

Just type – ‘oon soru’ and browse the internet. Your box would be filled with websites that talk about the same above said detail, verbatim. Which website posted the basic article is unknown. The above article gives a very fine and elaborate write up on different biriyanis in India.

An elaborate research would provide different insights into the culinary secret behind the speciality rice in Tamilnadu. I’ve heard people well versed in Tamil literature, talk about ‘Oon Soru’ and the practice of cooking rice with meat among the early Tamils.

With various popular versions of Biriyanis-  Hyderabadi, Lucknowi or Old Delhi’s famous Mughal preparations, Tamilnadu has its own versions – Dindukkal Biriyani, Arcot Biriyani, Ambur Biriyani, Chettinad Biriyani and so on. There is one more variety that has no popular name, but the version is different from home to home – that’s the Home Made Biriyani, with the tasteful signature of the amateur home cook.

So, this Sunday I decided to make the Home Cook’s Mutton Biriyani – with step by step elaborate procedures for purpose of sharing here. This is a two-way process, where meat is pressure cooked initially with turmeric and salt, and then pressure cooked again together with spices and rice. This second part, makes the biriyani an easier version, where no ‘Dum’ (closed cooking in sim flame) is required and hence, is less time consuming, but no compromise in taste.
With the urge to cook Biriyani, came a list of other things that go well with the exotic Rice.

a. Thayir Pachadi – Onion and Yoghurt Raita

b. Kathirikkai Salna – Mildly spiced, tangy Gravy with brinjal/egg plant that is served alongside Biriyani

c. Mutton Vadhakkal – Spicy, Pan fried Mutton – the perfect munching companion for the succulent Biriyani

A successful Sunday with special delights calls for 2 connected posts on the lunch served. So, first – Biriyani and Pachadi, I call it the match made in kitchen, which is supposedly a cook’s heaven of culinary creations!
Home Cook’s Pressure Cooker Mutton Biriyani

 

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Ingredients (serves 3)

 

long grain basmati rice

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and meat

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  • basmati rice – 1 ½ cups – (app. 225 gms)
  • mutton – 500 gms
  • turmeric powder – ¼ tsp for cooking meat separately + ½ tsp while making biriyani
  • salt – to taste
  • oil – 3 tsp (for caramelising onions) + 3 tsp (for making biriyani)
  • clarified butter – 3 tsp

Dry Spices

 

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  • cardamom pods – 7 no.s
  • cloves – 7 no.s
  • cinnamon – 2-3 sticks
  • bay leaves – 2 no.s
  • big cardamom – 1 no.
  • fennel seeds – 1 ½ tsp
  • pepper corns – 1 tsp

To chop

 

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and green chillies

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  • ginger – 50 gms
  • garlic – 30 gms (app. 3 small pods)
  • onion – 3 large – 165 gms
  • tomato – 2 large – 130 gms
  • green chillies – 5 -7 no.s (finely chopped)

For freshness

caramelised onions with mint and coriander

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  • mint leaves – 3 tsp
  • coriander leaves. – 3 tsp

Exotic touch

 

saffron in water

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  • generous strands of saffron soaked in ¼ cup hot water tsp bring out that gorgeous colour
  • nutmeg – ½ tsp grated

Method of Preparation

 

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Part I

  1. Wash and soak basmati rice at least ½ an hour before pressure cooking meat
  2. Soak saffron in ¼ cup hot water

 

soaked rice

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Part II– Cook Mutton

  1. Remove fat as far possible from meat
  2. Mix turmeric and salt to meat and keep aside for 15 minutes
  3. Wash and clean well
  4. Squeeze out excess water from the washed meat
  5. In a pressure cooker, add meat, ¼ tsp turmeric and salt with water enough to cook for approximately 30 minutes
  6. Pressure cook meat till done (It takes 30-40 minutes to be cooked well)
  7. Do not forget to use the meat broth to cook the final Biriyani.

Part III– Getting things ready – grinding, slicing, chopping, caramelizing.

 

  1. Coarse grind ginger, garlic, fennel seeds and pepper corns together in a blender (without water). Though full pepper corns are fried with spices in Biriyani, I prefer to grind as there is no wastage on the plate. Additionally, ground pepper corn spices up the Biriyani with its unique flavor.
  2. Thinly slice onions. Caramelize sliced onions in 3 tsp oil.
  3. Finely chop green chilies and tomatoes separately. Keep aside.

 

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Part IV – Let’s do it – THE BIRIYANI

1. Heat pressure cooker and add oil and clarified butter.

2. Drop all the dry spices except pepper corns and fennel seeds (already blended with ginger-garlic)

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3. Next, add the ground ginger-garlic-pepper-fennel paste with green chillies and sauté.

 

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4. Add the chopped tomatoes and sauté till soft and mushy.

5. Then, add the caramelized onions and mix well.

6. Strain rice without water and add to the hot ingredients in the cooker and stir well.

 

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7. Add nutmeg, turmeric powder and salt.

8. Strain mutton and save the cooked broth.

9. Add cooked mutton pieces and mix.
10.The most important ingredient- WATER

Now, it’s time to add water. I go by this ratio and it turns out good.

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For 1 cup of rice – 2 cups of water;
For 2 cups of rice – 4 cups water minus ½ cup = 3 ½ cups water
For 3 cups of rice – 6 cups of water minus ½ cup = 5 ½ cups water
For 4 cups of rice – 8 cups of water minus 1 cup = 7 cups water

So, for this biriyani, where 1 ½ cups rice is used, less than double or less than 3 cups, i.e. 2 ¾ cups of water is used.

  • Mutton cooked water – 1 cup
  • Saffron water – ¾ cup
  • Extra plain water – 1 cup

That works out to be 2 ¾ cups water for 1 ½ cups of rice.
Alter plain water according to the quantity of mutton cooked water you have. Add water, mix well.

11. Check for salt. As mutton is already cooked, the water tasted does not consist raw meat. So, go ahead, taste and add salt if needed.

12. Close cooker with lid in full flame. Keep in full flame for 3 whistles. Switch off and wait for the pressure to release by itself.

 

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13.Open cooker and serve hot Biriyani.
Biriyani- Thayir Pachadi / Biriyani- Onions in Yoghurt: Match made in heaven!

Thayir Pachadi – Onions in Yoghurt

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Biriyani needs a Thayir pachadi or Raita as in North Indian cuisine. Vegetable, chicken or mutton biriyani, is incomplete without the accompaniment of Pachadi.

Though, there can be many varieties of Pachadi/Raita. In Tamilnadu, a pachadi with just onions and little green chillies for spice is generally served with Biriyani.

  • thinly sliced onions – 3 no.s
  • thick yoghurt – to soak the sliced onions (approximately 3 cups)
  • chopped green chillies – as preferred
  • salt – to taste
  • coriander leaves (fresh) – for garnish

 

Mix all ingredients together and garnish with coriander leaves. In a restaurant that serves, vengaya pachadi or onion raita – yoghurt is less than mentioned above. But I prefer to have more yoghurt to the quantity Alter quantity of yoghurt as preferred.

 

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Divine Marriage and the Homely Feast! – Ellu Saadham/Sesame Rice

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Skanda Sashti Fasting is devoted to Lord Murugan, the Tamil God. After 6 days of fasting, the seventh day is the fast opening day or the Feast Day. The evening of the 6th day, Lord Murugan kills the demon Suran. After the defeat, the seventh day is his day of marriage. For more details on skanda sashti and the drink paanagam read – dosaikal.com/sashti and paanagam

After defeating the demon, Lord Murugan marries Devayanai the next day – it is called the Thirukkalyanam – or the sacred marriage. After six days of fasting, every family has a feast on Lord Murugan’s marriage – with six kinds of mixed rice delicacies – Kalavai Saadham or Viragina Saatham which literally means mixed rice. dosaikal.com/sashti feast

Today (18.11.2015) being the day of marriage, it called for some celebration at home. To start the day, I made Sarkkarai Pongal – Sweet Jaggery Rice (refer – dosaikal.com/sarkkarai pongal)

Since it is tradition to make six kinds of rices, I made –

  1. sarkkarai pongal – sweet jaggery rice (dosaikal/sarkkarai pongal)
  2. elumichai saadham – lemon rice (dosaikal/elumichai saadham)
  3. puliyodharai/puli saadham – tamarind rice (yet to post)
  4. ellu saadham – sesame rice
  5. sambaar saadham – mixed sambaar rice (dosaikal/sambaar)
  6. thayir saadham – curd rice (dosaikal/thayir saadham)

and roasted potato dry curry to go with the rice varieties.

So, its time to share Ellu Saadham/Sesame Rice, a very simple and quick meal.

Ellu Saadham/Sesame Rice

 

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Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • saadham/cooked rice – 2 cups
  • ellu/sesame seeds (white or black) – 4 tblsp
  • ulundham paruppu/dehusked black gram – 2 tblsp
  • milagai vatral/dry red chillies – 4 no.s
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1/2 tsp
  • perungayam/asafoetida – 1/2 tsp
  • uppu/salt – to taste
  • nallennai/gingelly oil – 4 tsp
  • kariveppilai/curry leaves – few leaves

 

black gram, red chillies and sesame seeds

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sesame rice powder and cooked rice

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Method of Preparation

  1. Cook rice till grains are soft and separate, but not mushy
  2. Spread on a plate and let it cool

Sesame Seed Powder

  1. In a pan, take 1 tsp oil and fry black gram and red chillies
  2. Once the black gram turns golden brown, remove from pan
  3. Fry the sesame seeds till they turn golden brown and remove from pan
  4. Cool the fried ingredients and dry grind in a blender with dry ginger powder, salt and asafoetida powder
  5. The mix powder is ready

Sesame Rice

  1. Pour 3 tsp gingelly oil preferably, on rice; this helps in even mixing of the dry powder
  2. Mix the powder in rice thoroughly till blended well.
  3. Fry curry leaves in minimum oil and mix in the rice.

 

 

Note:

  1. Black or White Sesame Seeds can be used.
  2. Gingelly Oil which is made from Sesame seeds is preferable. But other oils can also be used.
  3. One or two tsp of grated coconut can also fried and grinded together with the dry ingredients.
  4. Seasoning with mustard seeds can also be done with curry leaves.

Ulundham Paruppu Saadham with Ellu Thuvayal / Black Gram Rice with Black Sesame Chutney

Super Healthy Rice Package

 

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Revival of Bone Strength – Nutrilicious Ulundham Paruppu Saadham/ Black Gram Rice with Ellu Thuvayal/Sesame Chutney

 
This is a speciality Variety/Mixed Rice or Kalavai Saadham as we call it in Tamil. Rice, black gram, garlic and salt are the only ingredients that go in the making of this super-healthy rice package. Black Gram Rice is had with Black Sesame Seed Chutney and Avial (vegetable stew) for the vegetable curry in the platter and  Appalam (disc shaped crispy fries) as a crunchy accompaniment – giving it a balance of many combined flavours. (see above picture)

 

An insight into the core ingredients of the rice and chutney..
  
The Goodness of Ulundhu/Black gram

  

split whole black gram used for this variety rice

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Ulundham Paruppu or Black Gram is used in various Indian Foods. From exotic restaurant menu cards to humble homely meals, this highly nutritious lentil can be found frequently in the Indian food arena. Dal Makhani, one of the north Indian speciality creamy lentil preparation is an all time favorite throughout the world. The Paruppu/Dhal/Lentil is also called Maa ki Dhal in Hindi or Mother’s Lentil, might be due to its nutrient value.

As far as South Indian Cuisine is concerned, Black Gram husked or dehusked is almost a staple diet and also a trusted stable diet. Stable Diet? Yes, ‘Ulundhu’/Black Gram aids in the growth and stability of infants, toddlers, teenagers, adults and the aged alike. It aids in Bone growth of all members of family.

Black Gram takes its place in the quintessential breakfast and dinner Idly and Dosai, the unavoidable snack Ulundhu Vadai, health food Ulundhu Kanji/Porridge, traditional food Ulundhu Kali/thick pudding, and crunchy chips Murukkus/crispies. In many foods, black gram is the core ingredient and a few others added for technical consistency. The appalam or pappad had has a starter or with rice meal is also made with Ulundhu.

In some preparations like Ulundhu Vadai, Black Gram is the sole main ingredient.

  

ulundhu vadai

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There cannot be a south Indian household without Ulandham paruppu as Idlies and Dosais cannot be made without this ingredient. I can be sure of this atleast with today’s parental generation. Cannot be sure about the next generation who might opt for breads, cereals and pastas for staple food but be rest assured certainly not stable.

Ulundham Paruppu/Black Gram is used in different forms. The whole lentil with black skin in certain foods, skin removed but whole in shape in certain foods and skin removed but split in halves, split in halves with skin…. Might be quite confusing for new comers to the Ulundhu Industry, but tradition says that that type that that dish! So, enjoy and don’t bother. De-skinning, splitting and all other technical necessities are taken care of and what one needs to do is just do some intelligent grocery shopping.

  

black gram – whole 

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These are a few Ulundhu Preparations from Tamilnadu, with the kind of black gram used, mostly common with mild differentiations among the other three states of the southern part of India. There are many more varieties depending upon the varied districts of Tamilnadu. Other South Indian states might have many more to add to the list too.

  

kutty idli – mini idli

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De-Husked or De-Skinned whole lentil for Idlies and Dosais;
De-Husked Split for Seasoning;
De-Skinned, Roasted and Milled for Appalam and Murukku;
Black Whole Lentil (with skin) for Porridge, Pudding;
Whole Split Lentil for One Pot Rice – ulundham paruppu saadham

  
Sesame Seeds –  a Girl’s Support Mechanism….
  
How I was introduced to Ulundhu Saadham and Ellu Thuvayal?
  
This variety rice is prepared mostly on all weekends or leisurely family meals as it tastes best direct hot from the cooker. But another essential occasion when ulundham paruppu saadham comes into the platter is during the monthly menstrual time. The rice with sesame chutney is believed to be a Cleanser Combo.

    

Sesame seeds are best among the other home medicines for menstrual problems. Some quantity of dried sesame seeds can be pounded and stored. A fresh solution can be prepared daily by mixing half a spoon of this powder in a cup of water. This concoction can be used once in a day for the better results of the treatment. Regular use of this decoction can help in relieving completely from scanty menstruation. – See more at:http://www.findhomeremedy.com/natural-home-remedies-for-menstrual-problems. http://www.findhomeremedy.com/natural-home-remedies-for-menstrual-problems/#sthash.MCaQlI3O.dpuf

    

We are adviced to have it at the end of the cycle as Sesame is supposed to cleanse the uterus of all the leftovers. So, it is a routine monthly cleanser of a woman’s unique organ. Additionally, mothers prepare their daughters from the right time for a healthy motherhood in future. While Ulundhu/Black gram aids in strengthening hip bones, sesame seeds help in cleansing.

Whether the notes on sesame seeds are scientific proven or not doesn’t matter to me. I totally believe the medical effects that the key ingredients of this Combo Rice Platter can provide to the system as a whole.

    

During the Post-Menstrual phase it’s important to nourish blood and yin after the menstrual flow of the previous week. It’s important to include ample amounts of protein, fat, folic acid, and vitamin B12, which are essential for building blood and yin. Also important during the Post-menstrual phase is foods rich in chlorophyll (that’s all the green goodies!): kale, chard, bok choy, micro-algae, seaweeds (especially dulse, which is high in iron). Other foods that are nourishing during this time include nuts and seeds, especially flax and black sesame seeds.. http://vibrantwellnessjournal.com/2013/02/11/balance-the-reproductive-cycle-naturally-with-traditional-chinese-medicine/

    

Sesame Seeds are also a rich source of calcium. Milk Allergic People and those who follow a Vegan Diet or Diary Free Diet use sesame seeds as a substitute to milk.

    

A good source of Natural Calcium which is easily assimilated in the body is Sesame seeds. The Black variety has a higher therapeutic value and a lower Oil content. You may soak overnight and eat. Chew to a fine paste. Include Sesame Seeds with your daily meals. They are a rich source of Calcium, Proteins, Magnesium and Iron. http://www.space-age.com/herbs/hormonebalance.html

  

In recent studies, calcium has been shown to:

  • Help protect colon cells from cancer-causing chemicals
  • Help prevent the bone loss that can occur as a result of menopause or certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Help prevent migraine headaches in those who suffer from them
  • Reduce PMS symptoms during the luteal phase (the second half) of the menstrual cycle http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=84

   

Now, it’s recipe time –
  
Ulundham Paruppu Saadham/Black Gram Rice with Ellu Thuvayal/Black Sesame Seed Chutney

  

Ulundham Paruppu Saadham

  

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Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • puzhungal arisi/par boiled cooking rice – 200 gms
  • ulundham paruppu/split black gram(with skin) – 100 gms
  • poondu/garlic – 10 cloves
  • uppu/salt – as needed
  • thengai/coconut – ½ (grated) – optional

  
Method of Preparation

 

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  1. Wash and soak rice with garlic for ½ hour
  2. Wash the black gram well
  3. In a pressure cooker, cook rice, black gram, garlic and salt with enough water; cooked rice-black gram should be soft and not just right
  4. Mix the grated coconut and the rice is ready to be served hot.

  

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Ellu Thuvayal/Black Sesame Seed Chutney

  

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  • ellu/sesame (black) – 3 tsp
  • milagai vatral/red chillies – 4 no.
  • puli/tamarind – 1/4 lemon sized
  • thengai/coconut (grated) – 4 tsp
  • salt – to taste

  
Meth0d of Preparation
  
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  1. Separately dry roast sesame seeds in a pan
  2. Remove the sesame seeds once roasted and in the same pan, roast red chillies with very little oil
  3. When the chillies are done, add grated coconut and roast till slightly golden in colour
  4. Wash the roasted sesame seeds (to remove sand particles generally found in sesame) and grind all ingredients with salt to a smooth paste/dip/ chutney
  5. Serve the thuvayal with ulundham paruppu saadham

  

Ulundham Paruppu Saadham is always served with Ellu thuvayal and preferably with Avial (mixed Vegetable stew) and Appalam/Roasted or Fried Pappad.
  
Notes:

  

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For Ulundham Paruppu Saadham

  1. This mixed rice is preferably prepared with puzhungal arisi/par-boiled rice if not available one can use other varieties too.
  2. Coconut is optional in the rice but tastes best with the humble coconut.
  3. The Black Gram used is whole-split as whole black gram tends to make the rice mushy.

  
For Ellu Thuvayal

  1. Always roast sesame seeds and then wash; Simple logic – The seeds cannot be roasted if washed before.
  2. Red Chillies can also be roasted dry without oil but roasting with little oil helps in fine grinding later.
  3. One can also fry tamarind with red chillies and coconut to make the tamarind softer.
  4. The quantity given is for very limited chutney; one can prepare according to family preferences.

  

For more on Sesame Seeds –
  

Sesame seeds may be the oldest condiment known to man. They are highly valued for their oil which is exceptionally resistant to rancidity.

Not only are sesame seeds an excellent source of copper and a very good source of manganese, but they are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and dietary fiber. In addition to these important nutrients, sesame seeds contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, and to prevent high blood pressure and increase vitamin E supplies in animals. Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=84

My 100th Post! Kootanchoru – Typical Home Town One Pot Meal.

Is Knocking Century a great mile stone? Cricketers and Bloggers would agree unanimously. When my paternal die hard cricket fan thaatha (grand father) would take me to Chennai M.A. Chidambaram Stadium to watch cricket matches, as a ten year old I would jump screaming high to sixes and fours of Ravi Shastris and Kapil Devs alike. Till today I no nothing much about the game but what I liked the most was getting ready early in the morning with packed lunch and snacks and more snacks and ice-cream to be bought at the stadium and a whole day of watching different kinds of people enjoying their day. That was a perfect outing of a grandpa-grand daughter duo – chatting, munching, screaming, clapping and jumping through out – more work-out than those cricketers on the field.

Today, I feel the same excitement when I jot down my 100th post. A big THANKS to all of you who’ve kept my pen writing.

I wanted to present one of the most fabulous One Pot Meals of my home town – Thirunelveli and the nearby districts my maternal Thoothukudi. It is called KOOTANCHORU – literally translates as might be – ‘combined rice’. (Kootu means combination/combine and Choru means Rice)

 

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Kootanchoru is –
1. a combination of rice and lentil – thuvaram paruppu or split pigeon peas;
2. with as many country vegetables and one green leafy vegetable preferably Arai Keerai (Amaranth Greens), salt and turmeric powder;
3. cooked in a kuzhambu/curry of tamarind and ground coconut-spice paste
and
4. seasoned with mustard, dehusked black gram, curry leaves and vadagam (sun-dried onion seasoning).

 

One-Pot Meal
With the culinary world turning its eye towards One-Pot Meals,  Kootanchoru is a healthy whole meal with high nutrient value; though with a long list of ingredients, it involves less time and work in cooking. While the rice, lentils and vegetables are cooked in the ground spice paste, the house would be filled with a unique aroma – I call it the true flavor of THE TAMIL  cuisine, common to every down south –  Indian household.

As I have mentioned, the ingredient list is elaborate, the initial preparation involves slightly more work, but the cooking proccedure is quite simple. The aroma and flavor of the meal is worth the effort of initial tasks!!

PONGAL – the harvest festival of the Tamils (refer – https://dosaikal.com/thai-pongal-the-harvest-festival and https://dosaikal.com/pongal-in-cambodia/), is just five days away. Kootanchoru is also a special meal during Kaanum Pongal or the fourth day of the harvest festival where people visit their friends and family and also spend the time on a Picnic. Kootanchoru can also be a picnic meal!

While the joy of a 100 posts rekindles memories of my paternal grandfather who has also been a wonderful friend till he left us a year and a half ago, the word Kootanchoru reminds me of my maternal grandfather who would take us all grandchildren on different picnics and shower us with the delicacies of Thoothukudi.

Coming from a family where the huge extended family, with maternal and paternal aunts (athais, chithis and periyammas) and those special aunts wedded to uncles (athais and chithis), I think each one in the clan are excellent cooks and my kootanchoru can never match their flavor of their hands; Or now in the next generation, the tasteful endeavors of my cousins – experts in variety of cuisines!
The Making –
Kootanchoru

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

1. main ingredients

  • puzhungal arisi/par boiled rice – 1 heaped cup
  • thuvaram paruppu/split pigeon pea – 1/2 cup
  • oil preferably gingelly oil – 1 tsp for the base of the cooker
  • puli/tamarind – lemon sized soaked in 1/2 cup water
  • manjal podi/turmeric powder – 1/2 -3/4 tsp
  • uppu/salt – to taste

 

rice and lentil

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2. mixed vegetables cut to medium size pieces – 5-6 cups of the same measuring cup of rice

  • kathirikkai/egg plant
  • vaazhaikkai/raw banana
  • carrot
  • beans
  • chenai/yam
  • urulai/potato
  • kothavaarangai/cluster beans
  • avaraikkai/broad beans
  • chinna vengayam/shallots – 10 no.s uncut for frying
  • oil for frying shallots – 3 tbsp

 

vegetables and shallots

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3. greens – 1 cup

agathi keerai/amaranth greens or any other greens, the second preference would be murungai keerai/drum stick leaves

greens and tamarind water

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4. to grind – garlic is a key ingredient!

  • grated coconut – 1/2 cup
  • seeragam/cumin seeds – 2 tsp
  • milagai vatral/red chillies – 3 no.s
  • pachai milagai/green chilli – 1 no.
  • poondu/garlic cloves – 10 no.
  • chinna vengayam/shallots – 5 no.s or 1/2 of normal big onion

 

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5. seasoning

  • oil – 3 tbsp
  • kadugu/mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • ulundham paruppu/dehusked black gram – 1 tsp
  • chinna vengayam/shallots -6 no.s or periya vengayam/onion – 1/2 – cut long and thin strips
  • karivepilai/curry leaves – 15 leaves
  • vadagam/sun dried onion balls – 1 or 2 no.s

 

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Method of Preparation
Initial Preparation

  1. Wash rice and lentil; keep aside
  2. Grind the grated coconut with the above mentioned spices into a smooth pastewith little water
  3. Wash and soak tamarind in water
  4. Cut all the vegetables and amaranth greens or any spinach of your spinach and keep ready
  5. While using eggplant, potato and raw banana, keep them in a bowl of water to avoid discoloration
  6. Peel the skin and wash the shallots and keep aside

Procedure – I

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pressure cooker on lighted stove and start adding all ingredients one after the other in order–

  1. rice and lentil without water
  2. ground coconut and spice paste
  3. cut vegetables
  4. chopped greens
  5. turmeric powder and salt
  6. tamarind water

Procedure – II

  1. Add 4 cups of water for every cup of rice-lentil mix. I have used total 1 1/2 cups both combined – so I added almost 6 cups. This is not inclusive of the tamarind juice of 1/2 cup and the water content in the spice paste.
  2. A total of 4 cups for 1 cup is ideal. Parboiled Rice needs more water for a well cooked – semi mashed consistency and that is what is needed for Kootanchoru.
  3. Do not close the cooker; let the mixture boil in medium heat. Keep stirring as the mixture might stick to the bottom of the cooker, as there is less oil. Generally no oil is added to the cooker but I added to be on the safer side
  4. In a separate pan, heat 3 tbsp of oil and fry the whole shallots reserved for frying
  5. Add the fried shallots and also the oil to the rice-water-spice mixture
  6. When the mixture starts boiling, close the cooker with lid and wait for the first whisle
  7. Keep the stove in full position; After the first whistle, reduce and cook for 5 mins. Switch off gas
  8. Open the cooker after 20 minutes; Kootanchoru is almost ready.

 

fry shallots separately

IMG_3858

 

add fried shallots to the ready to be cooked kootanchoru

IMG_3864

Procedure – III
Seasoning:

  1. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan
  2. Add mustard seeds and dehusked black gram
  3. When mustard seeds splutter and the gram turns brown, add the long stripped onions, curry leaves and vadagam
  4. Pour this on top of the cooked Kootanchoru and mix well
  5. If one doesn’t have vadagam, more onions can be cut into strips and fried brown and added
  6. Kootanchoru is ready and tastes best with Thayir Pachadi  and Appalam.

 

IMG_3867

 

fried seasoning ingredients on top of the cooked rice

IMG_3870

The Exclusives –
1. Vadagam
IMG_3828

a. Vadagams are sun-dried seasoning ingredients, stored for months at homes. They may contain mustard seeds, dehusked black gram, curry leaves and onion. Variations depend on the family.

b. In Thirunelveli, we have a different vadagam made of onions, not only used for seasoning but mainly had as accompaniment to thayir saadham/yoghurt rice as fritters (like the sun dried chillies). See – https://dosaikal.com/thayir-saadham-mor-milagaicurd-rice-sun-dried-chillies/. Since I did not have the original fritter vadagam, I have used the seasoning vadagam.
2. Thayir Pachadi

 

IMG_3978

a. Pachadi can be a yoghurt based salad or raita in Hindi. There are various kinds of pachadis – specially yoghurt with onions for Biriyanis, yoghurt with cucumber for combination rices like lemon rice or tamarind rice or mint rice, or just a soothing pachadi of yoghurt, onions and tomatoes for any meal. Carrot, Beetroot, Pineapple, mango… anything can go in as Pachadi,

b. Typical/Original Pachadis have a coconut-green chilli paste added to the yoghurt base. What we have done is a simple one with yoghurt and salt alone as base.

c. Since my daughter doesn’t prefer tomatoes, I used onions, cucumber and green chillies mixed in yoghurt and salt.
3. Appalam

 

IMG_3936

a. Appalam is exclusively South Indian. In the North, they are called Pappads – made spicy too. Pappadams in south are another variety of discs which puffs up when deep fried.

b. They are thin disc shaped fritters,  made of dehusked black gram flour. There are also other varieties like rice flour appalams, jack fruit appalams and so on.

c. They are deep fried or roasted on stove, nowadays microwaved and are had generally with a rice based meal.

d. They can also be substitutes to vegetables on a lazy day.

 

IMG_3930

Kootanchoru is not only a humble and simple symphony of various ingredients, but one of the best aromatic and flavorful meals from the southern part of Tamilnadu.
NOTE:
Do not miss the garlic to be ground with other spices. The flavor of garlic is one of the key essences to the flavour of this rice.

Elumichai Sadham/Lemon Rice

 

 beautifully coloured elumichai sadham/lemon rice

Elumichai Sadham (pronounced saadham) is an easy to prepare meal, flavoured with juice of lemon..  it is a delicacy made especially during those summer days of scorching sun.

Elumichai is the shortened version of Elumicham pazham which means ripened lemon in tamil; and saadham is rice. Elumicham kaai – elumichangaai is raw lemon and is used in making pickles . Originally, Choru or Soru is the tamil word for cooked rice. The origin of the word ‘saadham’ which is used commonly for cooked rice is not very clear.

Elumichai sadham (lemon rice), Puli sadham (tamarind rice), Thengai sadham (coconut rice) or Thayir sadham (curd rice) – all are called kalandha sadham, kalavai sadham or coloquially viragina sadham –  translated as mixed rice or in general variety rice.

Lemon rice on sunny days, Tamarind rice on rainy days, Coconut rice on special days and Curd rice always to end the meal… and that’s not all! Ellu sadham (sesame rice), Nellikkai sadham (gooseberry rice), Paruppu sadham (lentil rice) and many more come under speciality variety rices.

Among the Mixed Rices, lemon rice, tamarind rice and curd rice are also picnic meals – that can remain fresh and good for a couple of days – even without refrigeration.  When we use to travel in train to places like Delhi which needs 28 hours of travel time from Chennai, idly (see steamed-rice-cakes/) and varutha milagai thuvayal  (see roasted-chilly-coconut-chutney/) for breakfast and dinner, and lemon rice or tamarind rice with urulai kizhangu poriyal (see potato-dry-curry/)and curd rice (see curd-rice-sun-dried-chillies/)  for lunch used to be the packed food. These are such comfort foods when hunger never seems to stop during train journeys!

Variety rices can also be prepared from left over rice and yet the end product tastes fresh and flavourful. That is why, these can also be a lazy day’s brunch made with previous day’s left over rice and chips to go with it!

Now to Elumichai Sadham…

Cooked rice flavoured with juice of lemon,  coloured with turmeric powder for the yellow colour of lemon, combined with many more ingredients to enhance the tingy tangy taste of lemon…. lemon rice is simply and completely lemony!

 

Tip:

A small tip to squeeze out juice easily and completely – 

On any convenient hard surface like a kitchen slab or a chopping board, roll lemon with palm and make it soft.

Now, cut the lemon into two halves and squeeze out juice which is a lot more easier affair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elumichai Sadham

 

Ingredients (serves approximately 4)

  • cooked rice – 4 cups
  • oil – 4 tsp
  • kadugu/mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  •  ulundhamparuppu/dehusked black gram – 1 tsp
  • kadalai paruppu/split bengal gram – 3 tsp
  • nilakkadalai/groundnut (roasted and unsalted)- 3 tsp
  • pachai milagai/green chillies – 2 no.s
  • kariveppilai/curry leaves – a few
  • grated ginger – 1 tsp
  • turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • juice of one large lemon
  • salt – as per taste
  • asafoetida powder – 1/2 tsp

 

 

 

 ingredients…

 

 

 

 

Method of Preparation

  1. Cooked hot rice can easily become mashed. For lemon rice, we need rice in separate grains. Hence, cook rice, spread in a plate and pour two tsp oil and leave to cool; This helps rice to stay with separate grains
  2. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel; Add mustard seeds and when they splutter add dehusked black gram and split bengal gram
  3. Keep the stove in medium heat
  4. When black gram and bengal gram turn golden brown, add grated ginger, curry leaves, green chillies and turmeric powder and fry
  5. Lastly add asafoetida powder, salt and roasted unsalted groundnuts and fry
  6. When salt and turmeric powder is mixed well with all the other ingredients, simmer stove and add the rice which was left to cool and mix
  7. When the rice is mixed well, switch off stove and add the squeezed and filtered lemon juice to the rice mixture
  8. Toss well till the juice of lemon is mixed evenly with rice.
  9. Serve with urulai kizhangu poriyal (see potato-dry-curry/) or any dry vegetable curry and appalam (papad) or chips.

 

 

spread cooked rice and add oil to separate grains

 

all ingredients put together in hot pan

 

ready to serve!

 

 

 

Note:

  1. Pachirisi/Raw Rice is always used in mixed/variety rices… mainly because par-boiled rice is fatter and sometimes has a distinct taste
  2. Be sure rice grains are separated and not mashed when cooked
  3. Nallennai-Gingelly Oil is the preferred oil, which gives the typical flavour of mixed rice… if not available, other cooking oil can also be used
  4. When freshly cooked rice is used, cool on plate; when left over rice is used from fridge, directly add to the hot mixture on stove and then mix lemon juice
  5. Green chillies can be substituted with red chillies or both can be used for added flavour
  6. Add roasted groundnuts in the end as per procedure… if groundnut is added with black and bengal gram it might get burnt easily
  7. Quantity of lemon juice can be altered according to taste preference
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Thayir Sadham-Mor Milagai/Curd Rice-Sun Dried Chillies

Any meal with steaming hot rice as the base food, with sambar, rasam, puli kuzhambu – the gravy dishes; elumichai saadham/lemon rice, puliodharai/tamarind rice, thengai saadham/coconut rice and many more ready to eat mixed rices – thayir saadham/curd rice is there to end the meal. Thayir means curds and saadham means cooked rice. When on a banana leaf meal or a steel plate meal, one or two scoops of plain steamed rice with needed curds poured on top of it, mix well and have with pickles or the special mor milagai – fried sun dried chillies.

 

 

means pickle. It is a very simple word for pickle – it literally means soaked vegetable or marinated unripe fruit. There used to be so many varieties of home made pickles – on the kitchen shelf – elumichai (lime), kidarangai and naarthangai belonging to the citrus family, maavadu (baby mangoes), aavakkai (raw mango), nellikaai (gooseberry), and many more to go with thayir saadham.

Mor Milagai – Mor means buttermilk and Milagai means chilli. The green chillies are soaked in salted buttermilk, then sun dried and stored for months together! Nowadays, these are easily available in departmental stores – neatly packed. Every time, there is a call for mor milagai with thayir sadham, the readily dried chillies are deep fried in medium hot oil – and are ready to be served! For now, I’ve been using those mor milagai got from India. Next summer, I plan to try at home.. let’s see!! I also hear that in some other parts of India, especially Maharashtra, mor milagai is known as dahi mirchi and is had with khichdi (rice and lentil preparation).

 

raw mor milagai

 

fried mor milagai

 

Mouth watering home made pickles and mor milagai with thayir saadham… this I call Pure Nostalgia!

Thayir saadham… Thayir saadham can also be a lazy day’s single main course – with one steamed vegetable to go with it (balance in diet). Especially on a tummy upset day, this is a boon – mashed white rice with curds-  not only easily digestible but soothes your system too.

To make the simple thayir saadham more exotic in taste and exquisite in presentation, there are many more ingredients like grated ginger, chopped green chillies added to it.

 

Thayir Saadham

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • cooked white rice – 1 cup
  • thick curds – 1 cup
  • water – as needed
  • salt – as needed
  • fresh coriander leaves – to garnish

thaalippu/seasoning

  • oil – 1 tsp
  • mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • curry leaves – a few
  • grated ginger – 1 tsp
  • chopped green chillies – 1/2 tsp
  • asafoetida – a pinch

 

 

 

Method of Preparation

  1. Mash cooked rice well with a ladle/spoon,  into a coarse mixture and mix salt and curds to it
  2. Mix it to porridge consistency
  3. If curds are too thick add little water to arrive at the required consistency
  4. In a pan, heat 1 tsp oil
  5. When hot, add mustard seeds and urad dal
  6. When mustard seeds splutter and urad dal turns golden brown add chopped green chillies and grated ginger
  7. Just when chillies and ginger are fried a bit, add curry leaves
  8. Mix the seasoning with the curd rice
  9. Add asafoetida and mix well
  10. Sprinkle fresh coriander leaves and serve with mor milagai and/or  pickle.

 

Note:

  1. Mash rice when hot; take care rice is not mashed into a paste and never in a blender
  2. Always mix curds when rice is cool
  3. Curd rice tends to thicken after a while as rice absorbs water – hence add more water and curds as desired before serving
  4. Other variations like cut green grapes, cucumber or pineapple pieces
  5. Mint leaves can also be added with coriander leaves for extra flavour.