An Ode to my TT

It takes so much to try a new recipe patiently, click pictures before the morning light disappear and before everything to drag Myself out of my comfort mattress. But do you know what takes much more than this? To try that result of culinary experiment! And this post my dear is an ode to the man of the house who is my official taste tester. This post tops my list of procrastinated things to do and today I strike this one off the list.

Needless to talk about the amount of patience with which you answer all my repetitive questions but also constantly tapping me to stay grounded.

When at any such instant I boast myself of being a very good cook just because I got that bloody salt right thanks for always being there to tell me consistency is the key and not luck by chance!

And more than once thanks for your bewildered look when I tell you that I have something new coming up for dinner.

Opposites attract and blame it on those endless rom-coms telling me how romantic that is. Coffee is not really my cup of tea but when you said coffee is the best I really doubted if its still romantic. No one says no to tea. Dude!

From making you that disastrous cup of coffee the very first time to that last bowl of pasta, thanks for baring all those constants questions and being my official Taste tester.

I hereby announce you as my TT!

😝cheers!

Treat is on me!

Kara kuzhambu

Experimenting in kitchen is my birth right 😝. This came out delicious when I tried to make kara aviyal. Aviyal usually is made with multiple vegetables in coarsly ground coconut and buttermilk sauce. But When the man of the house explained me about kara aviyal which he had in his childhood I tried to make it with all possible combinations. Turns out this curry was super delicious but with a comment from him, “Its delicious! Aana ithu kara aviyal illai”. Duh! I cant take so much for nothing, so it calls for a blog post!

Firstly, its super easy to make since I havent used cooked dal. All it takes is chopping vegetables and making a coconut paste.

Ingredients:

2 medium sized brinjal

1 drumstick

7-8 pearl onions

1 medium sized potato

1 medium sized carrot

1 medium sized tomato

Few curry leaves

1 cup of tamarind extract

Half cup of shredded coconut

3 tbs of sambhar powder

For tempering – mustard seeds, sesame oil, hing

<<<<<<
ctions:

1. In a pan, add 4 tsp of vegetable oil to sauté onions and tomatoes. Once its sautéed well, add rest of the vegetables and sauté till its coated with oil.

2. Add tamarind extract to the pan and let it boil till the vegetables are cooked.

3. Meanwhile in a mixer jar, take shredded coconut and sambhar powder and grind it to find paste adding water gradually.

4. Add the paste to the pan and let it simmer for 10 mins. Make sure to close the pan when it boils.

5. Finally switch off the heat. For tempering in a seperate pan, add sesame oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves and hing. Once it splitters add it to the curry.

Things that could go wrong:

1. Make sure to grind the paste finely. And be careful while adding water. More water while grinding will not give a fine paste.

2. Add more oil while tempering the curry. Sesame oil gives a very nice taste.

Bottle guard/Calabash / surakkai curry

Except for chopping bottle guard nothing is difficult in making this amazing curry. I get very good bottle guard here and this curry is almost in table for once a week.

I have tried making this with Moong dal too. But I find the curry made in channa dal is much tastier, so sharing that version.

It can be made with almost very few ingredients.

– 1 medium sized bottle guard peeled

-4 tbs of channa dal

-1/2 tsp turmeric powder

-salt to taste

To grind:

– 1/2 cup of shredded coconut

-3 cloves of garlic

-1 small sized ginger

-1 tbs cumin

-4 green chillies

– Few curry leaves

Instructions:

1. Chop bottle guard in small cubes and soak in lukewarm water for 10 minutes.

2. In a pan take chopped bottle guard and channa dal. Add enough water to soak all the ingredients and let it boil.

3. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and salt to taste while it boils.

4. Once it boil add the coconut paste and continue boiling.

5. Switch off the flame once cooked till the raw smell of the paste goes off.

6. You can add more water if you want the consistency to be little watery.

7. For tadka- 1 ts sesame oil, mustard seeds and split urad dal. Add this to cooked gravy.

Things which could go wrong:

1. If boiling bottle guard and dal in cooker make sure to switch it off in 2 whistles. Over cooked vegetable lends soggy curry.

This is as easier as it gets. Happy cooking !

Sambhar with drumsticks and brinjal

So all those cheesy-easy-breezy pastas take the kitchen by storm and I try everything possible with the help of online cook books, share pics and get enough of attention for so called fancy culinary skills. And as days pass all I want was nothing more than steamed rice and dal.

Welcome aboard! I was not all excited to cook proper meals, (you can read it as a simple sambhar and rice 😬) . It was out of bad craving for home cooked. So I decide to try it with mom by my side, okay by my virtual side.

Chopping veggies, cooking dal before hand, so far so good. One part which I repel in making sambhar is extracting tamarind extract. No!

But I see no shortcuts here so I get going in soaking it in hot water as long as possible to make the process less daunting.

Here it goes. This version is coconut free yet another saving grace to cut down on shredding coconut 😂

Ingredients:

  • 1 drumstick, 3 small size brinjals
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 small Red chillies
  • 3 tbs sambhar powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard seeds, asefotida and curry leaves for tadka.

Instructions:

1. In a skillet add few drops of oil and sauté onion. Once it turns translucent add Red chillies and tomatoes. After frying it well add vegetables.

2. After sautéing it for a min add water and turmeric powder. Let it cook till the vegetables all boiled.

3. Add tamarind water and sambhar powder. Cook till the raw smell of the sambhar powder goes away. Add salt to taste.

4. Add already cooked dal and cook well for another 5-7 mins.

5. In seperate pan, add sesame oil and mustard seeds, aesfotida and curry leaves. Once it splitters add the tadka to sambhar.

Things which could go wrong:

1. Dont add salt and tamarind water until the vegetables are cooked well.

2. Dont let the tamarind water cook for too long. If let to cook too much it imparts bitter taste.

Happy cooking!

Falafel

“This looks like Masala bonda!”, I grinned ear to ear when I found something that satisfies my sinfully spicy soul. But No! I didnt get perfectly boiled masala coated delicious potato. It tasted like wada maybe but too soft for wada. I was new to this taste and once I realised it has got nothing to do with Indian flavours I saw the name. Falafel!

First Falafel was ok, second was good then rest were delicious 😬 So I wanted to try this at home and mind you , only because it took few steps. If it had 10 ingredients and 15 steps to cook I would have happily settled for a bowl of maggi. So here it goes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh parsley
  • 3 large green chillies
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • salt to taste

Instructions:

1. Soak chickpeas overnight.

2. Wash chickpeas in cold water and simmer it for about half an hour.

3. Once tender, drain it for sometime and combine it with onion, garlic, parsley, cumin and green chillies( Traditional pepper is used for some heat but I prefer green chillies. You can use either)

4. Grind all the ingredients to a coarse paste. Make sure not to make it so smooth. If needed add water in parts.

5. Add salt to taste and flour to bind the paste.

6. Mix well and make it into small balls.

7. Fry it till golden brown in oil

Things which could go wrong:

1. Make sure to drain chickpeas well before grinding it.

2. Add more flour ( not more than 2-3 tbs) if the felafel balls falls apart while frying.

Happy cooking!

Vendakkai Mor Kuzhambu

Now who doesnt love to cook tasty food and get out of kitchen as soon as possible. I am no hard worker by any means and would love to take any number of shortcuts which reduces my time and dishes to clean in kitchen never compromising on taste.

I had this Yogurt based curry right in my 3rd attempt always missing out some or the other. Half because I dont have the patience to listen to my mom explaining about what not to do. More than the recipe I feel a guide on what no to do/What could go wrong would be quite useful.

So Mor Kuzhumbu can be made with many vegetables but I always stick to using ladies finger because its easy to chop(?) and it retains the taste of the curry for a longer time.

To make this make sure your pantry has below items.

(I try to limit my quantity for 2 people. So while making for more make sure to add accordingly)

Ingredients:

  • Oil as required
  • 2 Medium green chilly
  • mustard seeds
  • 1 cup of chopped ladies finger
  • 1/2 cup of yogurt
  • 1/4 Ts of asafoetida
  • Few Curry leaves

To Grind:

  • 4 Tbs of shredded coconut
  • 3 Tbs of Roasted gram
  • 1 Tbs of Cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 2 medium green chilly

IMG_6962

Instructions:

  • Grind all the ingredients to a fine paste
  • In a medium size cooking pan add some oil and mustard seeds. Wait till the mustard seeds splutter and add chopped ladies finger.
  • Add curry leaves and asefotida. Fry till it is cooked through and color of ladies finger changes.
  • Now add the paste and add 1/2 glass of water. Make sure to stir it occasionally or it sticks to the pan. (I made this mistake when I first made it and I had tough time cleaning the pan. So beware!)
  • Make sure to let it cook for quite sometime as we didn’t dry roast the ingredients before grinding.
  • Meanwhile add 1/2 glass of water to the yogurt and beat it without lumps.
  • Once the raw smell of the paste goes away add the beaten yogurt. At this stage make sure it just boils for few minutes. If you let it cook for long it curdles and gives out sour taste.
  • Switch off and let it rest for few minutes before serving

Things which could go wrong:

  • Make sure not to fry the vegetables for too long. Burnt vegetables doesn’t add any taste to the curry
  • Take care to switch off once it starts boiling after adding yogurt.
  • You can also use buttermilk, but personally I prefer beaten yogurt since it has rich and creamy consistency.
  • Make sure to grind it to a fine paste if like me you dont like to see shredded coconut anywhere in the curry 😀

Happy cooking!

What is Tapioca?

Hyper Panda – A name people of KSA swear by. It is a must visit every weekend and it is 20 minutes drive from our home. I had made a mental note of what all to buy to stock up my pantry and ended up finding hardly 2-3 items over there. There were so many new names, Tapioca, Cilantro,Parsley.. Wait! What do I do with all these. My vegetable knowledge included nothing more than basic stuffs. In my single days if I find onions, tomatoes and chilies I considered my meal sorted. These basic ones were sure there but additional I found a rack full of clueless ones which I walked past.

In next few weeks after basic research and so many google questions like

“How do I differentiate Parsley and Coriander leaves?”

“What is Tapioca?”

“What is Palak called in English?”

“Can I use some green leaves named Gerger instead of palak?”

If someone publishes my google history about grocery shopping there would be a ban on me to even type the word food. So after few researches and keen observations I figured out Tapioca to be nothing other than ‘Maravelli Kizhangu’ and I go like sollave illa, ithu eppola irunthu. I had ate it like n number of times but never thought it would look like this before my mom cooks delicious fry out of it. Time to borrow my nephew’s book to learn vegetables in English.

If Vegetables drive me crazy, then lentils take me to whole new level.

Sesame seeds (white/Black) – Ok! It looks like the one above burger buns but what do I do with this.It is in two colors. How come they use only white one in burger buns.

Cous Cous – For namesake, I dont even want to lay my hands on it.

Poppy seeds – It looks like Sesame seeds. years and years of Find 6 difference in newspaper helps!

Nutmeg – I have no idea what this mug, well meg is all about.

After that I have a glossary of Indian spices in English and Tamil.

Lets Talk 🙂