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Posts Tagged ‘Kuzhambhu/pulusu’

             In my childhood , our village often suffered powercuts. On those occasions, my mom used to compensate the ‘Edison’less nights  with her moonlight dinner(Nila Choru). My brothers and me sit around her in the moon lit hall , speaking about all good times .The menu would be rice with either this kuzhambhu or our other favourite, Varutha paruppu kuzhambhu with arisi vathal. The simplest menu though , will taste like heaven when she gives us those balls in our palms. Just wait for your turn for a big rice ball in your palm and eat till she finishes a round. No calorie calculations, just keep chatting and eating till your heart and stomach is filled with joy and food.

Ingredients

Toor dall- 1/3 cup

Medium yellow onion-1

Medium tomato- 1

Tamarind- amla size

Dry red chillies- 4/5 nos

Ingredients for paruppu kuzhambhu

         Cut the onion and tomato into wedges and cook the dall , onion, tomato and chilies in a pressure cooker till the lentils are cooked soft. My mom usually adds a few drops of oil when cooking for some good reason.  Add tamarind/ tamarind extract and salt  to the dall and grind it to smooth paste. Back home, my mom always uses a  chatti and maththu  to mash the dall. If you are lucky to have those ,  you may prefer to use them for better taste.  Dilute it to the consistency of rasam. 

           Do the thalippu with vadagam , add and heat . When the kuzhambhu is about to start boiling , turn off the heat. 

Rice floating in paruppu kuzhambhu

           The trick is to balance the heat , salt and sour . If you can hit the correct balance, this will be a great hit in your home. To me, this is my ULTIMATE COMFORT FOOD. 

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Steaming idlis and ‘my’ kari kuzhambhu

I was preserving one of my mom’s best dish  for the new year . Oh ,what a pity, my modem went wrong on the new year day , just 10 days after its warranty period.  Can you imagine? I  spent 9 full days without browsing the blogs .  mmm mm ….. That was good in a way. I could look at my daily routines in a different way.

Coming to the treasured recipe , this kurma (but we call it kuzhambhu) is perfect for Idlis. My brothers call it ‘duplicate kari kuzhambhu’, as it  is much spicy and the taste immitates mutton kurma. (They eat meat.)  For a vegetarian  like  me , it is like a feast to have it with steaming idlis.

Idly:

Though, almost every one of  the Indian bloggers has posted this, I feel it is good to share my  mom’s secret for a ‘malli poo idly’. Yes, my daughter used to describe my mom’s idly this way , meaning it is as soft and white as jasmine flower.

Ingredients:

Idly rice- 4 and 1/2 cups

Urad dall- 1 cup

Fenugreek seeds- 1 tsp

Method:

Wash the rice twice and soak it with fenugreek seeds  for 2-3 hours. 

Wash the dall twice and soak it separartely for half an hour to one hour.

Grind the dall first. Add minimum water and sprinkle ice cold water for better frothing. The right consistency of the batterThe grinder should run for atleast 30 min. Take the dall out and grind the rice next. When the rice is little coarse, add enough salt , unload and mix well with your hands. Make sure the batter has the right consistency  before fermenting. If you pour the batter from your hands, it should run down smoothly and slowly. After a thorough mixing, let it stand for 10- 12 hours. The batter would have risen good if it was in right consistency and  had the right amount of salt.

Mix again well and pour in the idly molds and steam cook for 15 minutes. To check the doneness, just touch the idlis and they should not stick to your hands. Take out  the molds from the stand and let it cool a while. Dip a spoon in water and use it to unmold the idlis. Hot and soft idlis are  ready to be served with chutney, sambhar or kurma.

 

Please note :

* The ratio for rice and urad dall varies with the variety we use.

* Also it is true that if it is an aged dall and rice , it yeilds more batter.

* My mom has the conventional idli steamer, in which she covers the mold plates with a wet white cotton cloth instead of greasing with oil. It is my belief that it is the cloth that  gives the ultra softness to the  idlis.

* You can  store this batter even for a week in the refrigerator, but always bring the batter to the room temperature  before steaming for better results.

* The consistency and salt are the key factors for a  perfect idli. If  the batter is watery,  the idli will not rise on steaming, on the other hand, if it is thick, the idli will be hard. 

* You can store  the cooked idlis in the refrigerator. When  needed, steam it again in the cooker for hot and refreshed idlis. To reheat the idlis in the microwave oven,  simply wet the idlis in running water, place them as a layer on a microwavable  plate and cover with a wet paper towel and heat them for a couple of minutes.

* For a different redo of the idlis,  crumble them and do upma . Find here a lemony version of idli upma .

Idli batter - gracefully risen

Peppery potato kurma:

Ingredients:

Potato- 2 number

Oil – 1/2 cup

Fennel seeds- 1 tsp

To grind:

Chana dall /Gram dall- 1/4 cup 

Medium sized onion-1 number

Medium sized tomato – 1 number

Cumin seeds- 1 tsp

 

Pepper corns- ½ tsp

 

Ginger- 2 inch  piece

 

Red chilli powder- 2 tsp

 

Coriander powder – 1/8 tsp

 

Turmeric powder- few pinches

 

Method:

 

Finely chop the potato. Take the ingredients in the ‘to grind’ list and grind with little water and make as a coarse paste. Stop stirring when all the oil oozes outHeat oil in a non stick skillet, sputter fennel seeds, add the ground paste, keep stirring continuously  till the raw smells fades away. Once the masala is sauted well and oil oozes out, add the chopped potato and stir slightly. Add  enough water and salt according to taste. You can test the spice level at this point.

 

Transfer the contents to a pressure cooker and cook  till you hear the first whistle. The curry thickens very well after cooking . If it is too thick , dilute with water and bring it  to another boil.

 

Idly and peppery potato kurma

Note: If you hesitate to use the liberal amount of oil asked for, the chana dal will stick (even)  to the (non stick) pan  and get burnt , spoiling the whole taste. Also stirring continously is  as  important  as the oil.

Go ahead and try this, I am sure this will be in your favourite list soon.

Updated on  Jan 21st :

Illustrating the cloth lining method

As Gini  wanted to know, I am  adding a picture to illustrate how to line the idli mold with damp  cotton cloth.

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Vadagam is the seasoning balls in our region (Thiruttani, Tamilnadu, India).  Vadagams give a  special aroma to the keerai  and kuzhambhu varieties. It is  usually made by the expert elders of the family for their daughters and the daughter-in-laws. They make it  every year in the summer when the sun is hot and the onions are cheap. The stock thus made  serves the whole year’s need for seasoning/thallipu. They are made into balls just for the ease of counting. When these are sundried, there would be many other sun light projects going on  by the side like rice vadams (called arisi kanji vathal in tamil),  dry red chillies, dry mango for future pickles (manga vathal). The kids in the house will be in the terrace all the time tasting the manga vathal and eventually say their grandmas that they were chasing away the crows.  Just like baby sitting , there will be  a  vadagam/vathal sitter  taking care to protect them from the unexpected evening showers. It takes pains but the gains are worth the pains.

 

Vadagam, magic ball for a good food

Ingredients:

Onion- 1 and 1/2 kg

Garlic- 1/4 kg

Urad dall- 1/4 kg + 50 gm

Mustard seeds- 1/4 kg

Gram dall- 1 tbsp

Cumin seeds- 1 tbsp

Fenugreek seeds- 2 tsp

Salt- 1/4 kg

Turmeric powder- 2 tsp

Castor oil- as needed

50 gm of urad dall and fenugreek seeds are soaked for an hour first and ground to a coarse paste.This gives the binding to the balls. 

The onion and garlic are peeled and coarsely crushed. This is typically done using a ullakai and ural. (I browsed a lot for these images but could not find it, so find here my scribble to illustrate it).

 

Ural and ulakai -still found in our homes, in villages.

Then the mustard seeds, urad dall,gram dall, cumin seeds are added to it. Then the ground paste, turmeric powder and salt are added and mixed well. This is allowed to stand for two days. On the third day, they are made into balls with castor oil as the grease. The oil also acts as preservative.  

These balls are sundried for 10  subsequent days and  stored in an  air tight container.

In a country like US when it is all the time snow and rain and little sunshine, we might  try to make these in smaller quantity and in loose form and dry it for longer time in the oven. When I try and win in the attempt, I will update my success here.

 

Seasoning using vadagams for kuzhambhu and keerai varieties

Seasoning with vadagams and curry leaves

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What if there is a unexpected visitor? What if you went for shopping and came late to home? What if it is raining out and you yearn for something hot and spicy? What if you are lazy and donot want to do the usual sambhars? Then, it is time to tell you about this quick and easy, kudamilagai kara kuzhambhu. I like this for the dominant smell of cumin seeds and the tasty blend of green peppers with tamarind.

Ingredients for spicy green pepper stew

Ingredients:

Green pepper- 1

Medium sized onion- 1

Small tomato- 1

Garlic – 4/5 cloves

Tamaring extract- 1 tbsp

Red chilli powder- 1 tbsp

Coriander powder – 2 tsp

Turmeric powder- 1 pinch

Cumin seeds- 1 and 1/2 tsp

Coconut – as needed

For tempering:

Oil- 1 tbsp

Vadagam – 1/2 ball

Curry leaves

Method:

Chop onion and tomato. Peel the garlic. Chop them if they are big cloves. Core and chop the green pepper into 1/2 ” squares. Dry roast the cumin seeds. Grind cumin and coconut into a fine paste. Extract tamarind juice.

In a skillet, heat oil, sputter vadagam  and  add curry leaves. Now add the onion  and garlic. Fry till they turn transparent and add tomato and green peppers. Add salt to wilt the tomato quickly. When all are sauted well, add turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder. Cook for some time. When the peppers become soft, throw in the tamarind extract. Bring it to a boil and finely add the ground  paste (and water if  needed), according to the spice level and  thickness required.

For the strangers to vadagam:  Follow Indira’s method of doing the tempering.

This could be an entry for ‘Warm me up baby’ event  hosted by Rosie.

Lunch- Rice , capsicum kuzhambhu and potato curry.

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I studied from hostel and I was the only one who was 3 hrs travel from the home town.All my friends were from far south with atleast 10 hrs travel. So, whenever my mom visits me , she brings this dish for her home sick daughter and friends in a big container. Whenever she brings this kuzhambhu, none in our group will taste the mess sambhar for a week. The reason , longer the kuzhambhu stays  out, tastier it is . It stays gud even for a week outside the refrigerator.So, I am  happy to share my friends’  all time favourite dish.

Ingredients:

Ingredients for inji poondu kuzhambhu

Medium sized onion-  1

Large tomato- 1

curry leaves

Garlic- 7-8 cloves

Tamarind- lemon size

Vadagam– for seasoning/thallipu

To grind: 

Ginger/Inji-  2 inch piece

Cumin seeds- 1 tsp

Coriander seeds- 1 tsp

Dry chillies- 5

Poppy seeds- 1 tsp

pepper corns- 1/2  tsp

fenugreek seeds- 1/2 tsp

Soak the tamarind in warm water. Extract the juice.

Chop the onion into bite size chunks. You can also use pearl onion for greater taste. Chop the tomato finely.Peel the garlic.

Heat oil in a pan and fry the ‘ to grind ‘ items one by one. Take extra care while frying fenugreek. If they are burnt, it spoils the dish.You can avoid fenugreek, if you are not  confident.

Grind the fried spices to a fine paste.

Heat  2 tbsp of oil in a kadai and sputter  the vadagam/ simply mustard seeds and urad dall.

Add curry leaves, garlic and onion. Fry till the onion turns transparent .

Add tomato , salt and tumeric powder and fry till all juice comes out.

Add the ground paste , saute a little and pour water.

When the raw smell diminishes, add the tamarind extract and  let it  cook on low heat for sometime.

Turn off the heat when oil starts floating on the top .

The aroma of the inji  will fill your house and all your digestive enzymes will start secreting at once.Go ahead and  dig in.

Rice with inji poondu kuzhambhu and potato curry

I love the onions in this kuzhambhu with curd rice. They marry so gladly and makes my taste buds happy.

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This is the most favourite kuzhambu in our family. My amma makes it very often and it is never boring . It tastes so good with the fried vathal (rice crispies).

Before digging in the ingredients, I need to tell you about the vadagams (seasoning balls)  we make in our region. It is a mix of mustard seeds, urad dall, gram dall, crushed garlic , crushed onion, curry leaves , fenugreek seeds. In the summer when the onion are sold cheaper, our ladies prepare these balls for the whole year ahead. They crush onion and garlic, mix the other ingerdients along with oil. Make balls and sun dry it for several days . These are preserved in porcelain containers . It has for itself a special aroma and is much simpler way of doing the thalippu (தாளிப்பு)/popu.

Vadagams

Now to the dish:

Ingredients:

Toor dall- 1/3 cup

Cumin seeds/jeera- 1 tsp

Peppercorns- 10 nos

fenugreek seeds-1 tsp 

Red chillies- 5 nos

vadagam- 1/3 ball

medium yellow Onion -1

Plum tomato- 1

Garlic- 3 cloves

Canola oil- 1 tbsp

Tamarind – amla size

Ingredients - varutha paruppu kuzhambhu

In a pressure cooker , heat the oil, sputter the vadagam, pepper, jeera, fenugreek seeds,chillies in the order mentioned. Then , add the dall and fry it till golden yellow. Add adequate water , cook with onion, garlic and tomato.  When cooked well, add salt and  tamarind and give a stir with hand blender.(Back home my amma does it with  maththu and kal chatti. The tasty kuzhambu is ready.I  am  happy to share my favourite menu with all of you. Give it a try and you are sure to thank me.

                         

Fried dall and spices with onion, tomato and garlic

         

Our meal- Rice, varutha paruppu kuzhambhu, eggplant curry and arisi kanji vathal

             

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