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 !

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!

Expat – A new tag

The journey to i-do-cook-well realization is nothing short of excitement. It gradually happened after spending months in cooking basic recipes.

Before that, days were spent learning more about the city, lifestyle of people, Indians in the region and restaurants offering vegetarian food. And those things are worth sharing.

Shifting to KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) brought in many changes to everyday routine as cultural differences are vast. Starting with becoming familiar with the tag ‘Expat’, Let me brief about few terms which are popular here

Iqama – It is a personal Identity card for expatriates who enter KSA for work. It’s mandatory to be taken along always. The man of the house (can’t help it! Thanks Twinkle Khanna. I am in love with this term) says, “Iqama?” while stepping out more than I-love-you.What more can explain the importance of taking it along than this.

Abaya – A long black cloak that all women  have to wear by law when out in public. As a matter of fact it can be quite a turn off but for someone like me who is termed fashionably disabled and prefers sulking rather than dressing up it is a blessing in disguise. I get ready in a jiffy and end up holding the door open and asking the man of the house to hurry up.

Salah – Setting aside everything to offer prayers is a common practice here. Shopping malls to small grocery shops remain closed at that particular time which is typically 5 times a day.

And last but definitely worth mentioning(not specific with KSA though, but this is my first experience) is the driving mode. Initially travelling in car was quite a funny scene since I was mentally accustomed to driving right (Well technically I was not the one who is in charge of the wheels but still). Every single time I would find it hard to control not-so-polite words when someone tries to get ahead in the wrong side (in my head obviously) only to understand how stupid I was at the end. What to expect! Just get over it with that sheepish grin and audio system to the rescue.

After initial settling down the next obvious pit stop is the restaurants in jazan. I wouldn’t miss a chance to write about it and it deserves a separate post 😀