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

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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!

Batata Harra

Potato Potato Potato. There is no place where we cant find potatos. All grow up eating it on practically most of the dishes, from fries to boiled to mashed. Name it and its there. Needless to say how useful this versatile vegetable can be.

I came across this dish when I was looking for receipe for basbusa, a middle eastern dessert. The name of the dish is well to say, quite different but trust me it is something any amateur can cook.

Batata Harra is a Lebanese dish which is spicy and easy to make. A combination I love!

This dish goes well with anything. I like to pair it with a mildly spiced ghee rice and spiced lentils.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbs Turmeric Powder
  • 1 ½ Tbs Coriander seeds
  • Salt, Pepper
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • For Garnishing – Dill leaves, Coriander leaves, Cilantro

Instructions:

Peel potatoes and boil them in a pot with enough water to cover them. Potatoes should be cooked but still firm. Drain potatoes and let them cool briefly. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and coriander skills. After few minutes add turmeric powder. Add boiled potatoes and mix well. Once the potatoes are coated well with other ingredients switch off the heat. Add lemon juice, Dill leaves, Coriander leaves and Cilantro

The best part is it looks good on eyes and tastes good even at room temperature.