Unlike most of those plans/promises I have not been able to keep up, this time I could make it. As written in the previous post – here is the chinna vengaya thuvayal, ideal for lentil dosais. Also good for basic Idli and Dosai, but I believe the garlic content in this vengaya thuvayal helps to tackle the gastric problems which might arise for some, due to the protein rich whole lentils in the pancakes. In a whole, this thuvayal aids in digestion.
With simple ingredients and simpler preparation, this has the ability to change the earthy pancakes into a special treat or a quick and easy breakfast or dinner food.
Chinna Vengaya Thuvayal – Shallot Dip/Chutney
Ingredients (serves 4)
chinna vengayam/shallots- 12 no.s
poondu/garlic – 12 cloves
milagai vatral/dried red chillies – 6 no.s (less or more)
puli/tamarind – gooseberry size
uppu/salt – to taste
nallennai/gingelly oil – 6 tsp
kadugu/mustard seeds – 1 tsp
ulundham paruppu/dehusked black gram – 1 tsp
kariveppilai/curry leaves – a few
Method of Preparation
Clean, wash and cut onions and garlic
Wash tamarind well
Grind to a smooth paste with red chillies, tamarind and salt
Heat 4 tsp oil, add mustard seeds and black gram; when the black gram is golden brown add curry leaves; fry for about 15 seconds in low flame and pour the blended paste
Stir the blended paste well in the seasoned oil
Fry/cook for about 10 minutes in slow flame
The texture and taste of the end thuvayal/dip depends on the family. If one prefers a slight raw taste of onions, frying for 5 minutes is sufficient
Frying the thuvayal for 10 minutes would give it a darker shade colorwise and the raw smell of onions and garlic would be gone
Do not forget to stir at frequent intervals from the bottom of the pan as the thuvayal might stick to the bottom and be burnt very quickly
When the thuvayal is done, remove from the pan and transfer into a serving bowl
Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan; Pour on top of thuvayal that has a glow on top due to hot gingelly oil
Thuvayal is ready! While served with dosais, pour one or two teaspoons of gingelly oil for one of the best flavours you would have tasted till date!
The quantity of red chillies can be altered according to taste preferences.
Onions and garlic also contribute to the spice of the thuvayal – so try with lesser chillies and upgrade it the next time if needed.
More gingelly oil, tastier the thuvayal. The taste of gingelly oil helps in tackling the spice level and pungent smell of garlic and onion – hence do not be conscious of oil here.
Instead of seasoning first, one can also start with just heating the oil and pouring the blended paste and cooking together.This doesn’t make any difference to the taste.
Season the thuvayal in the end. Pouring the seasoned oil or just hot oil – on top of the done thuvayal is very important to make the thuvayal a delight with any kind of lentil dosais.
After a few years of cooking not so good meen kuzhambu/fish curry or not as good as mother-in-law’s fish curry, this one came as a respite. This fish curry never flopped – might be because of the coconut milk added. Thengai Pal means Coconut Milk in tamil and thengai pal gives an exotic flavour to any curry or payasam, no doubt.
Meen Kuzhambu holds a special place in Tamilnadu cuisine. Fresh fish curry is not served immediately and is considered better in taste the next day. The fish is left to absorb the flavour of tamarind with spices till the next day -not in the refrigerator please! I have seen my mother-in-law cook fish kuzhambu specially in a man chatti – earthen pot and leave it till next day. Though I don’t wait till the next day, at least three to four hours of waiting time after the curry is done is advisable.
While traditional Meen Kuzhambu would follow in the near future, this kuzhambu is something for the buffet table I would say. Frozen fish fillet also suits this and in fact, I find fillet tastes best in this kuzhambu/gravy. Ingredients needed to make this kuzhambu are also easily available in the market – especially not much of spice grinding involved for those ‘quick cooks’!
For those new entrants to the world of non-vegetarianism (quite recently like me) and those who find tasting, consuming and especially cooking fish a troublesome issue, this kuzhambu would be easy work. Might be useful for non-cook husbands too – to introduce their wives to the fish world! Now, let’s plunge into making thengai pal meen kuzhambu.
Here, Tilapia Fish is used as it tastes better. I also use Panga Fish fillet got from the fish store. But, feel free to use any kind of fish you love.
Thengai Pal Meen Kuzhambu/Coconut Milk Fish Curry
Ingredients (serves 2)
Meen – Any fish/fish fillet – 250 gms
fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
garlic – 5 cloves
chinna vengayam/shallots – 8 nos. or big onion – 1 no.
tomatoes – 2 no.s
tamarind – lemon sized ball
red chilli powder – 2 tsp
coriander powder – 1 tsp
salt – as needed
coconut milk – 1 cup (canned or freshly extracted)
any cooking oil – 2 tsp
nallennai/gingelly oil – 2 tsp
mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
curry leaves – a few
chinna vengayam/shallots and poondu/garlic
Method of Preparation
Soak tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes. Take the juice and keep aside
Peel the skin of garlic, wash and keep aside
Chinna vengayam or shallots always taste good in any fish curry – just peel the skin, wash and keep aside. If one uses big onion, peel, wash and cut to four pieces.
Heat 1 tsp oil in an iruppu chatti/kadai
Fry 1 tsp fenugreek seeds, garlic and onions in oil
When they turn golden brown, add tomatoes and let them become soft
Cool and blend well
Heat remaining 1 tsp cooking oil in an iruppu chatti, and pour in the blended mixture
Add tamarind juice, red chilli powder, coriander powder and salt and bring it to boil
Let it boil to make a semi-thick gravy. Once fish is added, the gravy would become thinner/watery. Hence, it is advisable to make a thick gravy and then add fish to it
Once the fish is cooked, pour in the coconut milk and cook in medium position for 5 minutes
Tempering with gingelly oil enhances the taste of any south indian kuzhambu. Heat 2 tsp gingelly oil in a separate chatti; Add mustard seeds – when they splutter add curry leaves
Pour this into the meen kuzhambu and serve hot
Thengai Pal Meen Kuzhambu tastes best with Rice.
Red chilli powder can be altered as per taste
Tamarind pulp available in shops can also be used – add water and make a pourable consistency
Meen Kuzhambu is cooked in nallennai or gingelly oil. If it is not available, one can use any cooking oil.