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Monday, February 05, 2018

Muringakkai puli kuzhambu (Drumsticks cooked in a tangy tamarind base)

This is another simple, every day meal that we love. Most South Indians tend to love the tanginess that tamarind lends to any dish. I am no exception. Drumsticks grow in abundance in my parents' home. When I lived there, I couldn't care less for this vegetable. Now that I have access only to frozen drumsticks, and on rare occasions, fresh ones which don't match up to the robust flavor of home-grown Indian drumsticks. I miss those little things that I took for granted. This kuzhambu makes use of frozen drumsticks and frozen pearl onions which I buy as a matter of convenience, not non-availability of fresh ones. It is similar to vathal kuzhambu. The main difference between the two is that this one uses fresh vegetables whereas vathal kuzhambu makes use of sun dried vegetables and berries.
Do check out my earlier posts on vathal kuzhambu and the making of sundried sundakka vathal.


What you need:
Tamarind - Lemon sized ball soaked in enough hot water to yield two cups of extract
Oil (preferably sesame) - 2 tbsp.
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Chana dal - 1/2 tsp
Methi seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Pearl onions - 8-10
Drumsticks - 8-10 pieces if using frozen (2, chopped if using fresh)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Sambar powder - 2 tsp
Asafoetida - a generous sprinkling
Salt

Heat oil in a kadai. Add the dals. When they start to redden, add mustard seeds, methi seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard pops, add pearl onions and saute till pink. Add tamarind extract, drumstick pieces, asafoetida, turmeric, salt and sambar powder. Stir well and let it come to a boil. Boil on low flame for a few minutes to allow the gravy to thicken. If you feel that it is too watery, it can be thickened by adding rice paste which is made by adding one teaspoon of rice flour to water to make a thick paste. This rice paste can be stirred into the kuzhambu, with constant stirring.
Serve the kuzhambu hot with rice and a dollop of ghee or sesame oil.


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Schezwan Vegetable fried rice

If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I love recipes that are quick and easy to make. This Schezwan fried rice ticks both boxes. In addition, it is also colorful and loaded with vegetables. The one thing that does take time is making the Schezwan sauce. If you don't want to do that, you can use any brand of store bought Schezwan sauce. I have used homemade sauce, which I usually make in large quantities whenever I have the time, and store in the refrigerator. The sauce recipe will be shared in a different post.


What  you need:
Rice - 1 cup, cooked and completely cooled
Oil - 2 tbsp.
Ginger - 1 inch piece, julienned
Garlic - 4 cloves, minced
Onion - 1 small, chopped into thin, long pieces
Celery - 1 stalk, chopped fine
Vegetables - 3/4 cup (I used a combination of cabbage, carrot, beans and peas)
Soy sauce - 1 tbsp.
Schezwan sauce - 1 tbsp, heaped (Don't be tempted to use more, as the sauce is quite spicy)
Salt - to taste
Spring onion greens - to garnish
In a large pan or wok, heat oil. Add ginger and garlic. Saute for a few seconds. Add onion and continue to saute. Stir in celery, followed by the vegetables. Saute on high heat for a few minutes. Add soy sauce and schezwan sauce and mix well. Add in the cooked, cooled rice and salt to taste and stir to ensure that the sauce and vegetables mix well with the rice. Garnish with chopped spring onion greens.
This can be served as is or with any Indo-Chinese curry of your choice.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM

Friday, February 02, 2018

Pulingari - a tangy tamarind based gravy

When I chose the theme Gravies/Rice main course for the February blogging marathon, the first few dishes that I thought of are restaurant favorites - rich gravies and exotic rice dishes. However, what I often make and  what we truly enjoy is our simple, every day home cooking. This pulingari is an authentic Kerala Iyer recipe. Like all recipes from my home state of Kerala, this one too makes abundant use of fresh coconut which is ground along with some roast spices and added to vegetables cooked in tamarind.It is light and easy on the stomach, with no added lentils, and with an appealing tanginess that is balanced by the coconut masala paste. Pulingari literally mean a curry made of tamarind.  This is eaten with rice and a side of vegetables and papadam.


What you need:
Vegetables - 1/2 cup, diced (The commonly used vegetables for pulingari are pumpkin, ash gourd, brinjal, carrots, and colocasia. These vegetables can be used in combination or separately)
Tamarind - a lemon sized ball soaked in 2 cups of hot water
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup

To roast:
Oil - 1 tsp
Red chilli - 3
Curry leaves - a sprig
Methi seeds - 1/4 tsp
Raw rice - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - a small piece (If you use powdered asafetida, add it after the flame is turned off)

Heat oil in a pan. Add red chillies, curry leaves, asafoetida and raw rice. Roast over a low flame. Add methi seeds and roast for just a few seconds, taking care to see that the seeds do not burn, as this will make the curry bitter. Once cool, grind this with the grated coconut, adding a little water to make a smooth paste. Set aside.

In the same pan, take the vegetables. Add tamarind extract, turmeric powder and salt. Boil partly covered until the vegetables are three-fourths cooked. Add the ground paste and let it boil again until the vegetables are well cooked. The curry should be of a pourable consistency. So if you feel it is too thick, add some more water and if you feel it is too thin, let it boil till the desired consistency is reached.
In a separate pan, heat a teaspoon of oil (preferably coconut oil). Add 1/2 tsp each of mustard seeds and urad dal. When the seeds pop, pour this over the pulingari. Top with a sprig of fresh curry leaves.
Serve hot with rice and a dollop of ghee.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM